New Dundee pubs plan is “ridiculous”

City strategy states new venues will be limited to city centre

The V&A has attracted a lot of investment into the centre of Dundee

DUNDEE City Council has come under fire after the launch of a new development plan for the city which states new pubs will only be approved within the city centre.

The Local Development Plan 2019 sets out the city’s land use development until 2029.

In the chapter titled ‘town centres first’ the development plan states: “Due to the nature of their business, public houses can raise amenity issues for residents in the surrounding area.”

Therefore proposals for new pubs “will only be supported within the city centre”.

Dundee operator Jimmy Marr, who owns pubs in the city centre as well as in outlying parts of the city, dubbed the plans “ridiculous”.

He said: “Recently I opened a pub in Whitfield (in north Dundee) called The Tavern. There had been five licensed premises up there and four of them had been knocked down, so there was a need up there.

“They’re doing charity nights, they’ve got the local football team involved, they do a bingo night, they’re looking at doing a family fun day up there. They’re doing things on Easter Sunday to get families involved.

“I think you need pubs like that. You need community-based pubs.”

Licensing lawyer Janet Hood also stressed the importance of pubs outside of city centres.

She said: “My belief is the planners have failed to consider that many pubs are well run, food-led places which are family-friendly and benefit the community.

“Without pubs in more remote areas – even in cities – there is a loss of a secular meeting place, which can lead to greater loneliness, greater social harm and, potentially, greater unemployment – because as pubs turn into food-led premises the employment rises as they need chefs, waitresses, all this sort of thing.”

And another lawyer, Andrew Hunter of Harper Macleod, said the policy highlights the “continued misfortune of having sharp descriptions of premises in planning (eg. public house, restaurant) which do not exist in licensing”.

“For example, a significant food-led public house type premises, common in new developments, might be refused planning permission because it is not a ‘restaurant’ despite the fact that it would not be refused on a similar basis in obtaining a licence,” said Hunter.