VISITORS to Dunbar’s sports centre could soon be heading home with alcohol if they please.

Hallhill Sports Centre already has a licence to sell alcohol to customers within its premises.

Now, consideration could be given to selling alcohol to take away from the Kellie Road facility.

Discussions take place today (Thursday) at East Lothian Council’s licensing board.

The issue was highlighted at the town’s community council meeting, where Councillor Norman Hampshire explained some of the reasoning for the change of licence.

He said: “Since the pandemic has come along, Hallhill operates different hours. It closes a lot earlier and people would be there until 11pm – they still do that if functions are on – but there are a lot fewer functions. If people have had something to eat, had a drink and the place is closing, they are able to ask for a bottle of wine and go home.

“It is a lot more expensive than going to Asda or a supermarket.

“It is really expensive but people want to do that rather than going to a supermarket.

“If they do one carry-out a week, that will be the amount they do.”

Mr Hampshire stressed that the sports centre was not trying to compete with

supermarkets and stressed the price difference in

favour of traditional outlets.

He said: “It is not something that is going to sell a lot of alcohol; it just gives that flexibility.”

However, the proposed changes did not meet with a unanimous welcome from members of the community council.

Graham Adams, the group’s vice-chairman, and Craig Rapson questioned if it was the right message to be sending out.

The sports centre is used by a wide variety of groups, ranging from football and rugby to hockey and ballet, and age groups on a weekly basis.

Mr Adams noted that people could be going in and out of the sports centre buying alcohol and said: “How does that look to some of the parents and in teaching the dangers of alcohol?”

The premises are currently undergoing an extension, which will see the lounge size increase.

Police and East Lothian Council’s licensing standards officer were both consulted about the proposals and neither offered an objection.

However, the community council noted “a full discussion” was needed to outline the requirement for an off-sales licence.