PEOPLE living in Dumfries town centre have this week told how their home life is constantly being disrupted by boozy, foul-mouthed pub-goers.
People living in Castle Street have complained about the noise from the rear of Wetherspoons boozer, The Robert The Bruce, which backs onto their properties.
Loud swearing at all times of the day, peeing outside, and strong whiffs of cannabis have been reported by householders.
They spoke up at the Dumfries and Galloway Council’s planning committee on Wednesday as they objected to a bid by JD Wetherspoons to create a beer garden at the pub on Buccleuch Street.
Currently, this is a smoking area which has been generating excessive noise and disturbing residents. They fear the situation will only get worse with a beer garden.
Objector Richard Osborne, who attended the planning committee meeting, said: “Current levels of noise from the smoking area during the day, including the use of foul language, is already unacceptable and would likely be significantly worse.
“I totally dispute the planning officer’s observation that noise during day time hours is unlikely to be a significant issue.
“If food was to be served, what would stop food being thrown into our gardens – as currently happens with cigarette butts?
“It’s apparent that a lack of customer supervision from the applicant resulted in numerous cases of people urinating in the access mews. This was easier than going upstairs to the toilets.”
Neighbour Graham Robertson submitted a letter of objection, stating that he and his family moved in six years ago fully aware there was a pub smoking area adjacent.
He went on: “There was very limited view to our home and the noise was initially confined to chatter and people having fun, which was not an issue.
“Having lived in a town centre location before, I was also aware that there would be conversational and operational noise, which is, as they would say, ‘part of the deal’.
“However, I was not prepared for the increased disruption which has been experienced over the last two years, especially since lockdown.”
“The offensive language, comments and discussions which we have listened to almost daily, often at full volume, is now unacceptable.
“We are now at the stage where we do not have our young granddaughter in our kitchen or upper lounge as they hear language and comment on it.
“It is embarrassing and impacts on our family time, and I have recordings available. We also encounter strong smells of weed in our property.”
The objectors say that they report incidents to pub staff who try to take action, but pub regulars return to their usual behaviour soon afterwards.
While councillors sympathised with the residents, some underlined that these are issues for licensing or environmental health departments, rather than planning matters.
Council planning officer Louise Medland also confirmed that the beer garden plans complied with planning policies and recommended that it be approved.
Lochar Councillor Ivor Hyslop called for the beer garden plans to be agreed, saying: “There is no evidence to refuse this for planning reasons, however it may be a different story if the evidence was taken to a licensing board.”
The committee agreed to approve the beer garden.