Is the village hall in a remote Clydesdale hamlet about to be turned into a public house?
Ask leading members of Tarbrax Community Council that question and they will say “Yes”.
Ask members of the committee running the hall and they’ll reply “Certainly NOT!”
Festive spirit seems in short supply in parts of the village where the hall, not council-run but built with Lottery cash, is just about the only local place where entertainments can be staged and community events and meetings take place. The last surviving pub in Tarbrax, the semi-legendary ‘Lazy-Y’, closed many years ago.
An application this month from the Village Hall Asssociation for a pub licence for the building has been slammed by leaders of the village Community Council as an out-and-out commercial hijacking of what was meant to be a run as a traditional meeting place for all villagers.
The association has dismissed this accusation as a storm in a teacup, if not a pint glass.
Community council chair Ian Aitchison and secretary Stephen Migely signed a leaflet distributed throughout Tarbrax late last week, calling on villagers to lodge objections to the licence application with the licensing board by the deadline of January 4, claiming the assocation kept its plan secret from the rest of the community.
This was quickly followed by a counter-leafletting campaign by the hall association, stating that it had no intention of running the hall as a public house and their motives were purely to save money on having to make expensive applications for occasional drinks licences for midweek events in the hall, which already carries a Friday/Saturday licence.
The Gazette has been told by two members of the association that the row has blown up following a period of ill-feeling between leading members of the council and their group.
At the heart of this is the opposition of some council members to windfarm developmets in the area and the subsequent renting of part of the hall as office space for the WAT-IF? local development organisation funded by windpower levy payments.
Association members claim feelings were further soured when they moved the community council from its traditional monthly meeting room in the hall to another room to accommodate the WAT-If? office.
Association chairman Gordon Morrison commented: “We’ve absolutely no intention of running the hall as a pub.”