A KELSO hotel has been granted a licence to serve alcohol in an area of the town’s famous Market Square.

The Cross Keys Hotel, which dominates the north side of the square, had applied to Scottish Borders Licensing Board for a change in its operating plan.

The application sought to have an area of tables and chairs – accessed via a public footpath and adjacent to a popular car park – to be included for the first time in the “licensing footprint” of the premises.

“This will allow our staff to sell and convey drinks to these customers which we cannot do at present,” said a hotel representative.

The board heard that the area, in front of the hotel, would have “adequate barriers” and that the alfresco drinks service would stop at 10pm.

Supporting the move, board member and Kelso & District councillor Tom Weatherson, said it would complement the ongoing programme of improvements to Kelso Square.

“The idea was always to give the town centre a real international feel and this will certainly help,” said Mr Weatherston.

“This is part of a grand plan coming to fruition.”