Members of the north east Fife planning committee agreed to the part change of use plans for the Giddy Gannet in St Monans’ Station Road, despite seven letters of objection being lodged with Fife Council.
As work has already started on alterations, councillors were told to treat the application as part retrospective, but they saw no real issues with the proposals which would require them to refuse it.
The premises operated as a cafe known as the Diving Gannet for almost five years before it closed in September 2021, but the cafe has since been rebranded and reopened by brothers Henry and Will Philip, whose family also owned The Ship Inn in Elie.
Concerns about using part of the property as a wine bar were raised by objectors, who expressed worries over noise from patrons or live music, the potential for anti-social behaviour and littering.
But councillors were assured on all those fronts, with a condition in place that the wine bar will have to close at 11pm on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays, and 4pm every other day.
“Although potential later opening times have been submitted to the Licensing Board, it is considered that the opening times proposed through this planning application are more appropriate and typical and would allow the business to operate normally and at the same time demonstrate over time its operational capabilities are appropriate for a residential area,” explained case officer Scott Mcinroy in his report.
“A proposed condition has been added limiting the opening times to these hours applied for as part of the planning application in order to protect the residential amenity of the surrounding area.”
Mr McInroy highlighted claims from objectors that noise levels are already excessive within the area due to people congregating in the street, but stressed that Fife Council’s environmental health public protection team had been consulted and had received no complaints to date.
In terms of music, the applicants had also indicated that mostly low level background music would be played, albeit acoustic guitar performers may be part of a future limited live music offering.
“In terms of concerns raised regarding potential external noise and anti-social behaviour issues, these concerns are noted but are less likely to be issues associated with a café/wine bar use of the very limited size as proposed,” Mr McInroy concluded.
Liberal Democrat councillor and St Monans resident Bill Porteous welcomed the change of use proposals as the area continues to recover from COVID-19 restrictions.
“For most of us in St Monans, I think it would be nice to have a venue where we can meet and chat,” he said.
“Every cafe in Europe has alcohol being served and nobody seems to be concerned, so I don’t know why it is the case here.
“Maybe we’re all still too Protestant, I don’t know.”
The change of use application was approved by committee members unanimously.