A RISK assessment will need to be signed off before a game of pool can be played in a Haddington pub.

Concerns about the introduction of the table upstairs at The Victoria Inn and Avenue Restaurant were discussed by members of East Lothian Council's licensing board on Thursday.

Members, who met in the neighbouring Town House, heard that the pool table could be used by a number of local sports clubs.

Craig Douglas, tenant of the pub on Court Street, had been unaware that he needed to apply for permission for the pool table, which can be covered up.

He noted that a folk music group had used the upstairs, sitting round the table with the cover on and putting their song sheets on it.

He outlined the thinking behind the proposed addition and said: “We looked to add a pool table to our operating plan, with the possibility of turning the upstairs into more of a sporting venue.

“We have ties with the local hockey club, rugby club and football club and it was just to give them a hub upstairs.

“From my point of view, it would be better to have them up the stairs and we can still have our diners downstairs.

“Most diners don’t want to climb stairs to eat.

“It was to make the operation of the business a bit easier for us.”

Police Scotland raised no objection to the pool table, although the council’s licensing standards officer highlighted two recommendations.

They noted that the addition of the pool table had “the potential to change the atmosphere and character of the premises, potentially creating an unsuitable atmosphere for children”.

Provost John McMillan, a Haddington and Lammermuir ward councillor, asked if there was a risk assessment in place relating to the pool table and was told: “The honest answer to that is no, we don’t have a written risk assessment for that yet.”

Members, who had adjourned to discuss the issue, came back and said that they would be prepared to grant the change following the approval of a risk assessment.

Mr McMillan said: “We are prepared to grant but we would not issue the approval until we have seen and approved the risk assessment around the pool table.

“We would certainly want a written risk assessment to be received as soon as possible.

“We would look at that and take it into account but we are, I think, prepared to grant.

“The other condition that we would like you to consider is that children up to the age of 11 are fully supervised by a responsible adult whilst in the upstairs area where the pool table will be located.

“Because of its distance from the bar and so on, we would actually like you to consider having two staff on duty upstairs at all times.”

However, Mr Douglas was not convinced that having two members of staff near the pool table at all times would be possible.

He said: “I couldn’t afford to have two staff up there.

“In the climate just now, if there are only two families, two fathers and two kids, it is absolutely impossible for it to be financially viable to have two members of staff up the stairs.”

It was then agreed that a written risk assessment would be needed before the change could be granted.

Mr McMillan added: "Thank you for bearing with us.

"It is a difficult and I think, like you, that we want to make sure that things are done properly."