New licensing hours take effect

The licensing laws came into effect this week
The licensing laws came into effect this week

NEW licensing laws came into force in Galloway this week with pubs now having to stop serving at an hour earlier leading to more frustration from local licensees.

Tricia Regan from The Cree Inn in Minnigaff told The Galloway Gazette about her frustration about the new drinking hours imposed on her business from last Sunday.

Trica, who has run the popular bar for the past nine years, said: “We have to stop serving at midnight now on a Friday, Saturday and Sunday night instead of at 1pm and from Monday to Thursday it’s now 11.30pm instead of midnight.

“The annoying thing for me is we run a lot of charity events in here and they are very successful but we will have to stop serving at midnight now instead of 1am and that will not be popular with our customers. We get a good mix of people in here, from young ones to people in their seventies and eighties, and most don’t want to have to leave at 12.

“In the summer we serve food until 9pm so it doesn’t leave people much time to enjoy their evening out afterwards.

“The annoying thing is that if you have entertainment like karaoke you can then stay open for the extra hour! This is a hassle free pub too, we always shut the door at 12 when we have something on so we don’t get anyone who is drunk coming in.

“We do charity events throughout the year and we don’t want to stop doing them, but I have made enquiries (to the licensing board) and there is no leeway. Charity nights are not classedasentertainment and therefore don’t qualify.”

A Council spokesman said: “The Board’s licensed hours policy allows a later hour where attraction facilities are in place. This policy was first agreed by the Board in 2007. However, it mirrored exactly the regular extension policy which had been formulated under the previous licensing system. It has therefore been in existence for at least 10 years.

“Recently, the Board, following a detailed consultation process, made a Supplementary Licensing Policy Statement with the intention of clarifying the type of attraction facilities which the Board would expect to be taking place to take advantage of the extra hour. This clarification came into effect on 1 April 2012.

“In making this amendment the Board has retained the flexibility to add to the list of attraction facilities. Also the Board recognises that there may be exceptions to policy which could be the subject of an extended hours application to cover a particular event. Further, it is open to a licence holder to make a major variation application that the Board consider the operation of the premises to the later hour without attraction facilities as an exception to policy.”