A BORDERS charity is on collision course with police, health and council bosses over a bid to sell booze during the screening of a Disney movie aimed at kids.

Jim McDevitt, trustee of the voluntary group ‘A Heart for Duns’, has submitted a request to a meeting of Scottish Borders Licensing Board on Friday for a licence to sell alcohol during the screening of the animated 2021 feature film ‘Encanto’ on Friday, July 15, from 5pm to 7.15pm, at the Volunteer Hall in Duns.

The charity has submitted similar bids in the past which have been agreed.

But on this occasion the application faces opposition from Police Scotland, NHS Borders and the council’s licensing section on the grounds of ‘protecting children from harm’.

‘Encanto’ is targeted at an audience of children and young people. It is thought 50 children and ten young people are among those likely to attend next month’s screening.

In a report to the committee, Mike Wynne, the council’s licensing standards and enforcement officer, says: “I have based my objection on the grounds that I consider the event to be a child-centred event and the sale of alcohol to be inappropriate.

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“I have had a number of email exchanges with Mr McDevitt and he rightly states that previous film events, over several years,  have been licensed through an occasional licence application for both films screened. The description of the event on these previous applications have been described as ‘film evenings’ or ‘community film event’, without detailing the nature of both films.

“The content of the earlier film is in my opinion targeted at a children and young person audience, some of whom may attend the event unaccompanied by an adult. I consider the event to be ‘child-centred’ and I do not consider it necessary or appropriate to sell alcohol at this showing and to grant a licence for this particular event would be contrary to the Licensing Board’s policy statement and the licensing objective of ‘protecting children from harm’.”

Further objections to the application have been received from NHS Borders and Police Scotland.

Dr Tim Patterson, joint director of public health for Scottish Borders Council/NHS Borders, says: “Exposure to alcohol and witnessing adult drinking can influence our children’s future drinking habits. We should be creating communities where alcohol is not required as part of a family fun event.”

Chief superintendent Catriona Paton, head of policing for the Lothians and Borders division, adds: “It is accepted by Police Scotland that this applicant (and previous applicants) have had applications granted in the past. However it was not clear that these applications were for cinema showings that were child-centred.”