What’s happening? Bosses at McMillan’s Steak and Chophouse want to keep a space which has been operating under a temporary licence during the pandemic.
Residents say the proposal is “excessive and inappropriate” for a residential area amid concerns over noise and inconsiderate parking.
They also fear the Pollokshaws Road restaurant will become a sports bar — but bosses insist that will not happen.
Police were called to reports of sectarian singing at the venue earlier this year, but an inspector told the city’s Licensing Board that there was no indication of a pattern and he would not describe it as a “hotspot”.
Increase capacity: Members of the board have opted to visit the site before making a decision. If approved, the new licence would increase the outdoor capacity from 44 people to 80.
The application also requests permission to open earlier to serve breakfasts, to allow live sports to be shown and for alcohol to be sold for consumption off the premises — which would primarily be as part of food deliveries.
Addressing the board, Susanne Henderson suggested the plans to “nearly double the outside capacity to 80” were “excessive and inappropriate for where it is”.
“I think the noise and disturbance it would create in a residential area would be entirely unreasonable.”
Stephen Mullan added: “It’s clearly the case that this application seeks to turn it into licensed premises with a focus and an emphasis on drink, sports and, even more worryingly, live music performance.”
He also asked for more communication between neighbours and the restaurant’s bosses, which a representative for the restaurant agreed to.
Heather Alexander said: “I object to the morphing of this from a fine dining experience to a pub by stealth.”
Another neighbour, Thomas Sweeney, said: “Ever since the external seating was granted on a temporary basis, I have been inundated with people parking over my driveway.
“My wife works for 999 emergency services and was about to go to work, she couldn’t get out. Police were called and the taxi driver refused to move the car.
“Eventually, the police came, tried to track the driver down and then they were called off to more serious duties, so I don’t know what the outcome was.”
Objections have also been submitted by Bailie Norman McLeod, Bailie Hanif Raja, Cllr Jon Molyneux, the Strathbungo Society and Shawlands and Strathbungo Community Council.
Stephen McGowan, representing the venue, said The McMillan is a “high quality” and “family friendly” restaurant.
He dismissed concerns that “this is some sort of creeping masquerade to try to turn this premises into what has been described as a sports bar, or some sort of noisy, rowdy public house”.
“None of that is accurate, that is unfounded speculation. There will be very little difference between how they actually trade currently.”
Mr McGowan added: “The suggestion that this premises would become a locus for sectarian behaviour, I say, with respect, is fanciful. I don’t think there is any justification for that.”
He added the incident was “an unusual, one-off situation” which the owner dealt with, and said he understood the police were “very satisfied” with how it was handled.
Cllr Bill Butler asked why a fine dining restaurant needs to show televised sports.
Mr McGowan said the venue wanted “the ability to have a sporting occasion shown”, such as Wimbledon, the Euros or the Commonwealth Games, but would remove the request if required by the licensing board.
He added live performances were already permitted, but were “very rare”.
The restaurant’s representative also said parking issues are a planning matter, not licensing, but staff are instructed to “park in proper locations”.