A TILLICOULTRY pub will be allowed to turn a car park into additional outdoor seating, despite objections.

Planning permission was granted to the Royal Arms to form an extended beer garden by changing the use of a car park on the north side of the public house.

While the area contains four public parking spaces, the land has previously been sold by the council to the applicant and there has been no requirement on the pub to keep providing parking, whether the development was approved or not.

Indeed, council documents revealed the spaces were not part of an adopted Upper Mill Street public car park, immediately to the north of the site.

A report by the council's planning service added: "Although the loss of four off street spaces will displace some demand onto the street, on balance it is not considered that this would result in a sufficiently significant adverse impact to road safety to justify withholding permission for this reason."

Environmental health officers advised the permission should be refused and there were five objections by the public – which were unavailable for viewing on the council's planning portal at the time of writing.

Extending the outdoor drinking area would result in an "at least 200 per cent increase in capacity of the outdoor area available and this resulting increase in customers would cause significant disruption to neighbouring residents from additional noise from voices and shouting", according to the objection by environmental health.

However, in their report, planning officers said that the potential risk of nuisance has been "carefully considered" and concluded there were no reasonable grounds to justify withholding permission.

The pub already has a small external area and there has been no evidence that this resulted in nuisance.

Planning officers added: "Although the percentage increase in the area to be used as a beer garden appears substantial, it is starting from a very low base.

"The existing outdoor area is approximately 31sqm in area and is also used for storage.

"It would possibly only accommodate three or four picnic type tables without any storage space.

"The proposed site would also be used for storage including for bins."

According to documents, the application for the extended beer garden was "largely being driven by the impact of Covid-19 which has increased demand for outdoor space in hospitability [sic.] environments".

The site has already been used as a temporary beer garden during Covid-19 in response to restrictions on hospitality.

Council planners added: "There does not appear to be any evidence that during these periods, noise or nuisance occurred."