EDINBURGH will plough ahead with plans to open its pubs on a Sunday at 11am, with the city's licensing chief warning he will not be at the mercy of the health lobby.

Eric Milligan accused his predecessors on the board, when the city was run by a LibDem-led coalition, of being "too fawning about complainants" and making decisions that left it open to "ridicule and legal challenge".

Last year the city's licensing board announced several areas of Edinburgh had reached saturation point with premises selling alcohol and, following objections from the NHS, knocked back several bids by hotels and supermarkets for licences.

Despite its reputation as having a relaxed licensing regime, with longer opening hours than most other Scottish areas it is one of the few places that still does not open on a Sunday until 12.30pm.

But Mr Milligan has said he intends to follow the lead from Glasgow and proceed with an 11am policy.

He said: "The previous regime on the board decided to knock back BP from selling alcohol from a garage forecourt. They took us to court and we lost.

"We refused Sainsbury's a licence on over-provision grounds. That's overturned and opened us up to ridicule. And Hotel Du Vin wanted a licence to sell fine wines and they were refused as well. Like the others, that decision had to be reversed.

"My focus will be more on the quality and standard of the application and premise.

"We'll put it to the board in early January that there will not be a presumption against 11am opening."