White Gates pub landlords warned over noise

The owners of a pub with cabin lodging to the rear have been issued with a written warning after a year of noise complaints from neighbours.

Friday, 25th June 2021, 3:03 pm
William Morris and Catherine Campbell
William Morris and Catherine Campbell

William Morris and Catherine Campbell, who run the White Gates in Comrie, say it’s their first black mark in 20 years of operation.

The pair appeared before Fife Licensing Board this week following protracted complaints from local resident Darren Thomson

Thomson, a gas and electrical engineer, claimed he had been kept up by noise emanating from the pub, its beer garden and lodgings for months on end.

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The White Gates in Comrie

“I’m two properties away so I feel sorry for the people that are next door,” he told the board on Monday [June 21].

“I’ve been to the council about this, about the screaming and shouting at four or five in the morning. I play with a thousand volts of live electricity and live mains gas for a living, and I can’t get to sleep. That’s not just me at risk.”

Pub co-owner Morris derided Thomson’s complaints as “99% drivel” before being told to calm down by members of the board.

“It’s over the top,” Morris continued.

“He [Thomson] has genuine complaints, I agree, but we don’t want to fall out with anybody.”

Susan Normansell, one of Fife Council’s licensing standards officers (LSOs), said she was first made aware of Thomson’s complaints in July last year.

“LSOs have worked with [pub] management over 10 months – however they were unable to ensure a positive outcome,” she said.

“We’ve consistently had to reiterate the same advice and the problem hasn’t gone away.”

Sgt Neil Ewing, Police Scotland licensing rep, said officers had been asked to visit the pub on multiple occasions due to issues of noise and breaches of Covid-19 regulations, including a live band performing on the roof of the pub in May last year.

Councillors then took the pub landlords to task over their view that they had followed the rules.

Dunfermline Central Labour councillor Garry Haldane told Morris and Campbell: “I don’t feel you have any respect for your neighbours. I’m really quite disappointed to hear you had a live band on top of the thing.”

Kirkcaldy Central Labour member Alistair Cameron chipped in: “I can’t believe the number of issues we’ve had. You are experienced in what you do, so I find it difficult when you say you don’t understand the Covid rules down to a tee.

“The attitude today has not been helpful.”

Howe of Fife and Tay Coast Conservative Andy Heer proposed issuing the White Gates with a written warning. This was seconded by Cllr Cameron and accepted unanimously by the other members of the board.

Speaking hours later at the pub itself, Catherine Campbell said the issue had been “blown out of proportion”, but promised to work harder at reducing noise.

She said: “It’s the very first mark on our record. We’ve tried to follow all the [Covid] guidelines but the guidance isn’t very clear.”

William Morris added: “It is what it is. We’ll endeavour to cut down the noise.”

Speaking from his Comrie home, Darron Thomson said: “I just want a nice quiet life. Hopefully they will take this onboard. I’m happy that this has been recognised and hopefully it doesn’t come back.”