Does Rothesay have too many alcohol licences?

Are there too many places in Rothesay licensed to serve alcohol?
Are there too many places in Rothesay licensed to serve alcohol?

Rothesay has been identified as one of five locations in Argyll and Bute where there may be too many places licensed to sell alcohol.

The Argyll and Bute Licensing Board is carrying out a consultation to find out whether people in the area believe there is over-provision of licensed premises.

The board says statistics from Police Scotland, Scottish Fire and Rescue Service and Scottish Ambulance Service suggest that an over-provision in Rothesay, Dunoon, Helensburgh, Oban and Campbeltown may contribute to incidents of crime, health and fire.

Figures from Alcohol Focus Scotland, presented to the board in a preliminary report in June, show that Argyll and Bute has fewer alcohol outlets than Scotland as a whole, but has pockets of high availability; one quarter of neighbourhoods in Argyll and Bute have an outlet density greater than the Scottish average.

Areas with the highest density of on-sales premises showed death rates 60 per cent higher than areas with the lowest; areas with the highest density of off-sales premises had hospitalisations 167 per cent higher than areas with the lowest.

The consultation is being carried out for the council by Iconic Consulting Ltd of Edinburgh, who will give a presentation on their work at Bute Community Council’s monthly meeting this Wednesday, September 16, at 7pm at the Pavilion cafe in Rothesay.

The consultation will also include local licence holders, young people, Argyll and Bute councillors, Police Scotland, NHS Highland, the Argyll and Bute Alcohol and Drug Partnership, and the Argyll and The Isles Tourism Co-operative.

In particular, the consultation will ask whether there is an overprovision of premises licensed to sell alcohol in any or all of the five areas highlighted above, what type of premises is there overprovision (if any) - for example off-sales or on-sales - and what the reasons are for the overprovision (if any).

Argyll and Bute Licensing Board Chair Councillor Rory Colville said, “The responsibilities of the Licensing Board are far reaching within our communities – with the protection of children and young persons, health and public order having to be taken into consideration while determining license applications.

“At the same time, we must undertake our responsibilities while recognising the whisky industry, in particular, plays an important part in the well-being of the Argyll and Bute economy, providing much needed employment in some of our more rural and isolated communities but also through attracting visitors to Scotland. Tourism activity links closely with food and drink, the retail sector and recreational activities.

“In light of all of this, Board members take all their decisions very seriously and reviewing possible over provision is an important part of our duties. I would encourage everyone who is approached about this consultation to consider taking part. This will feed into the relevant decision making process by the Licensing Board.”

The findings of the consultation will be reported to the licensing board by the end of October.