Rothesay set for stricter licence limits?

The Argyll and Bute Licensing Board wants to limit the number of alcohol licences available in Rothesay.
The Argyll and Bute Licensing Board wants to limit the number of alcohol licences available in Rothesay.

Strict limits on the number of alcohol licences granted to premises in Rothesay could beimposed under proposals suggested by the Argyll and Bute Licensing Board.

The board is consulting on proposals to introduce a new policy which, if implemented, could mean the amount of licences being allowed to rise no higher than the number currently held.

Speaking to Bute Community Council this week, Ian Clark of Iconic Consulting, which is seeking the public’s views on the proposal, said: “Overprovision is a key consideration in licensing policy.

“The objectives of the Licensing (Scotland) Act 2005 are to prevent crime and disorder, secure public safety, preevnt public nuisance (essentially that means noise), promote and improve public health and protect children from harm.

“The board has looked at a range of evidence and has come to the tentative conclusion that the granting of any more licences in Rothesay potentially conflicts with those objectives.”

The licensing board has used evidence gathered from the NHS, Alcohol Focus Scotland, Police Scotland and the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service to form the basis of its proposals.

The statistics gathered found that Rothesay had 33 licensed premises, or 8.28 for every one thousand people living in the town, in 2014.

There were 6.53 alcohol diagnoses, 0.5 alcohol-related deaths and 100.15 alcohol-related crimes or incidents for every thousand people during the year.

The Argyll and Bute average is 6.66 licensed premises, 54.64 diagnoses, 0.25 deaths and 51.67 crimes or incidents per 1,000 people.

“The number of licences in Rothesay will not increase under this proposed policy unless an applicant can make a really strong case for it,” Mr Clark continued.

“It would not affect existing licensed premises, only new applicants.”

Rothesay is not the only area of Argyll and Bute where the board is concerned about ‘overprovision’: its evidence-gathering exercise raised similar issues in Oban, Dunoon, Campbeltown and Helensburgh.