A student union has rolled back on a controversial bid to hold nightclub-style events in a civic events hall in Dundee.
Dundee University Students Association (DUSA) has said it is no longer seeking to expand the capacity of Bonar Hall on the university campus to 1,100 people – almost twice its existing limit.
The union had initially sought to grow Bonar Hall’s capacity to the point it would have to install portable toilets for women outside – sending off alarm bells with local environmental health officers.
However, it is still pursuing a permit to hold late-night gigs and DJ nights inside the hall, which is generally used to holding less noisy events such as orchestral performances and weddings.
A decision on whether to grant the permit has been delayed until Dundee licensing chiefs are able to assess the impact of noise pollution stemming from the venue when loud music is played.
Existing users of the hall, along with local residents and businesses, had expressed concern about the impact of the venue as a club.
But Chris Clarke, chief operations manager at DUSA, says these fears were exaggerated as Bonar Hall will continue to operate as it does at present.
He told the Dundee City Licensing Board: “We’ve taken back the application to increase the capacity…but we are not seeking to operate as a nightclub.
“We thought it was clear within the application it’s really to increase the portfolio of events we have at Bonar Hall.
“We have no wish to open it as a nightclub every weekend. The university own the building and it has to turn it into a degree-level examination space twice a year. We would not be able to turn it into a nightclub, which we don’t want to do.”
Objectors to the plans had raised concerns of disruption to the patrons of nearby bars and the Dundee Rep Theatre, as well as local residents.
Mr Clarke has suggested an improvised taxi rank could be operated from outside the University’s Tower Building, adjacent to the hall, at the end of the night to remove people from the area quickly and quietly.
He added: “(Existing) bookings will be sacrosanct. We are in no way trying to lessen the range of events – we’re trying to expand it.”
Licensing convener Stewart Hunter opted to defer proceedings into February so a noise impact assessment can be carried out on the property, as DUSA hopes to play music louder than 85 decibels late into the night.
He said: “I think a noise impact assessment would help us make a formal decision.”