Licensing authority branded 'friends-only' club by Fraserburgh objector

Earlier this year, Hamish Partridge and his wife Maree were awarded 29,675 from NESFLAG to establish their new restaurant
Earlier this year, Hamish Partridge and his wife Maree were awarded 29,675 from NESFLAG to establish their new restaurant

A North-east licensing authority has been branded a “friends-only club” by a woman objecting to a licence application by a local councillor.

Fraserburgh resident Yvonne Nolan made the claim during a meeting of the Aberdeenshire North Licensing Board on Tuesday.

She was objecting to an application by Councillor Hamish Partridge and his wife Maree for their recently-opened Pear Tree Coffee House and Bistro venture on the town’s High Street.

Earlier this year, the Patridges were awarded £29,675 from the North East Scotland Fisheries Local Action Group (NESFLAG) to establish their new restaurant which has a focus on locally-caught seafood.

The board heard from Mrs Partridge that the new business currently employed 20 people – six of them full-time – and provided the “best in local seafood” which was attracting tourists and visitors from across the North-east.

She said the licence would enable customers to enjoy a beer, wine or spirit with their meals and to enable the business to compete on an equal-footing with other premises both in Fraserburgh and the wider Aberdeenshire area.

She added that the premises had previously operated as a public house and coffee shop.

Neither Police Scotland nor Aberdeenshire Council’s licensing standards team objected to the application.

But the couple faced opposition from a neighbour of the premises who said that particular area of Fraserburgh was already well-served by a number of licensed premises.

Yvonne Nolan said: “I live on this street and there is no peace and quiet – it’s absolutely terrible. I’m entitled to peace and quiet.

“There will be extra deliveries, horns blowing and drunks up and down the street. Churches and licensed premises – there’s nothing else in this town.

“They ( the applicants) can go home at night but I have to stay and put up with it.”

When licensing court interim-chair Anne Sterling asked if she had any other comment to make, Mrs Nolan retorted: “There’s no point – this is a friends-only club. This is a joke – a foregone conclusion.”

All councillors represented on the board had earlier declared an interest with regards to Councillor Patridge’s position, but had passed the local authority’s objective test and remained to discuss the application.

The application was unanimously approved by the board.