SCOTTISH Borders Council has agreed to extend an Innerleithen social club’s opening hours and allow children on the premises, despite the objections of the local community council. 

Vale of Leithen social club, on Innerleithen Road, asked the council’s licensing board to extend the sale of alcohol until 1am on Thursday, Friday and Saturday, and until midnight between Sunday and Wednesday. 

However, the vice chair and secretary of Innerleithen and District Community Council, Ruth Kerr, wrote to the licensing board to object to the proposals: “We don’t see a need to extend the hours to 1am on a Thursday. We don’t see a need for any extension of hours. 

“Midnight Sunday to Wednesday seems excessive. They already have quite extensive opening hours and we don’t feel the activities they are going to promote really warrants midnight and 1am licences.”

At a meeting of Scottish Borders Council’s licensing committee, held on Friday, the social club was represented by Paul Graham, the chairman of the club, and Angus McPherson, the club steward. 

In a statement to councillors, Mr Graham said: “We’re really trying to future-proof the club. Going forward, we recently renovated out kitchen and at some point we hope to introduce food into the organisation. 

“We have a lot of local organisations that use the premises, like pipe bands and silver bands, and they have a lot of children involved with them, but we can’t let them in. 

“Going forward we’d like members to be able to bring their families in, and to enjoy food there.

“We also get requests for children’s birthday parties which we’ve had to turn down. We’re just looking to the future and trying to ensure that the business survives.”

Tweeddale East councillor Robin Tatler, whose ward include Innerleithen, said: “What I find interesting about the objection from the community council is that I can’t see any discussion about this in the minutes of their meetings, and when I’ve attended the council I’ve not heard it being raised, so I’m not sure where this has come from. 

“I think that Vale of Leithen is a very well used community asset and I don’t see any reason not to support this.”

Councillors voted unanimously to grant the extension to the social club’s licence hours.