An application for an occasional licence for the Auld Baths in Bath Street, Hawick, to operate a bar for 500 people on a planned Orange march through the town, has been withdrawn.
The planned march has raised concerns over the potential for public disorder and the licence application to Scottish Borders Council’s licensing board attracted two objections.
Orangemen, accompanied by a 50-strong flute band, are expected to take part in the event on Saturday, April 14.
Had the application been heard by the licensing board, the councillors would have heard objections from the council’s licensing standards officer Ian Tunnah and Iain Livingstone, Police Scotland’s deputy chief constable designate.
Among their concerns was the venue’s 220 capacity and that the date clashes with Melrose Sevens rugby tournament.
Last week, a spokesman for the Grand Orange Lodge of Scotland said the march is being staged to commemorate the 40th anniversary of the formation of its Hawick lodge.
He said: “This will be only the third such march to be held in Hawick over those 40 years, and we do not anticipate any problems. There will be nowhere near 500 people attending. It will be 200. We are currently in talks with Scottish Borders Council over the staging of this event.”
In a report to the board, Mr Tunnah says: “It is thought that the proposed Orange march is to take place around the streets of Hawick, and the application therefore relates to post and pre-march refreshments. It is my opinion that if this is the case then the hours applied for are in effect excessive.”
Mr Livingstone added: “The organisation has not applied for or been granted any of the relevant permission to hold a march from either the council or Police Scotland.”
The planned march has split opinion among Hawick councillors.
Hawick and Denholm councillor Stuart Marshall said: “Our town has hosted these events before and I don’t ever recall any disruption.”
Hawick and Hermitage councillor George Turnbull commented: “This application is totally out of keeping with the Borders and, Hawick. I remember the last march and I still remember the expressions of shock and dismay on the faces of those who were on the street to witness the event.”