Scottish pubs may have late licences limited

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Pubs in Scotland may be forced to shut earlier if proposals to restrict licences get the go-ahead.Under new plans put forward by cabinet minister...

Pubs in Scotland may be forced to shut earlier if proposals to restrict licences get the go-ahead.

Under new plans put forward by cabinet minister Alistair Darling and MSP Sarah Boyack, there could be a limit on the number of licensed premises allowed to open late in any particular area.

Residents would also be given more powers to object to late opening on grounds of noise and disturbance.

Sheriff Gordon Nicholson's committee on liquor licensing in Scotland is examining these and other proposals as part of a wider review of licensing north of the border.

Mr Darling and Ms Boyack are pushing for the new reforms because they believe residents need more protection from the problems caused by too many alcohol and entertainment licences.

But licensees have mixed views about the proposals.

Douglas Gillespie, licensee of the Alhambra Bar in Edinburgh, agreed in principle. He said that there were already enough licensed premises in the city and that there was more than enough choice for customers.

Other licensees disagreed. Amanda Toolridge of the Swan, also in Edinburgh, said that the council already ruled in favour of residents and not the local business community.

The initiative mirrors a similar scheme in Westminster, where the licensing authority has cut down on late licences on the back of residents' complaints.

The move was widely condemned by the trade which said it restricted commercial freedom.

Meanwhile, pubs in Glasgow are set to get a short-term boost to trading hours, it has been announced.

Glasgow Licensing Board has given the go-ahead for an extra hour's drinking on four days from May 12 to 15 to coincide with the Champion's League final at Hampden Park, and for the Queen's Jubilee on June 2 and 3.

Related topics Licensing law

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