New pubs banned in Scottish county

By Lesley Foottit

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: License, Scotland

Browne: warning against Overprovision Policy
Browne: warning against Overprovision Policy
A Scottish county has become the first in the country to ban new pubs, clubs and off-licences from almost every street in the area. The...

A Scottish county has become the first in the country to ban new pubs, clubs and off-licences from almost every street in the area.

The Overprovision Policy covers 15 of 18 areas within West Dunbartonshire and will allow the council to reject all new licence applications on the grounds of "saturation".

It goes further than Culmulative Impact Zones in England and Wales, which require applicants to demonstrate that their new licence won't create problems.

The radical move was taken in an attempt to tackle the county's alcohol-related problems. It will apply to most types of premises including off-licences and supermarkets.

West Dunbartonshire has the second highest number of licensed premises in Scotland per head of population and around 4,500 people in the area are dependent on alcohol.

In the three areas not covered by the new policy there will be stringent controls on applications, with applicants having to prove that customers would not travel from an overprovision area to purchase alcohol.

Chief executive of the Scottish Beer and Pub Association (SBPA) Patrick Brown warned that the new policy would make it difficult for new operators to enter the market and create a poorer offer for customers.

"The Board appears to be more interested in political grandstanding than it is in public health," he said.

"SBPA has already published figures showing that the number of drinks licences in Glasgow and Dunbartonshire has fallen by over 400, equivalent to 17% of all licences, since the end of 2007. That seems to have been ignored by the Board in making these recommendations.

"Clearly if the Board adopts this overprovision policy then it will be a matter for individual operators to then appeal the Board's decisions to refuse new applications. Given the conclusions which the West Dunbartonshire Board have reached uniquely in the whole of Scotland I would think it inevitable that the Board's position will be challenged — it is probably just a matter of time."

Chair of the Licensing Board and councillor Jim Brown said: "We have far too many pubs, bars and off-sales shops given the size of the area, and with the Overprovision policy it will now be far easier to refuse new licenses. This is a significant step forward, and one where we are leading Scotland."

Superintendent Kirk Kinnell of Strathclyde Police added: "Strathclyde Police fully support West Dunbartonshire in its Overprovision statement and its accurate reflection of the legislated licensing objectives."

Related topics: Legislation