Trade split on Glasgow hours

Licensing board ditches plans to let pubs open until 1am

• Bars and clubs will get an extra hour during the Commonwealth Games.
• Bars and clubs will get an extra hour during the Commonwealth Games.

By Gillian McKenzie

GLASGOW licensing board’s decision to retain a terminal hour of midnight for the city’s pubs has been welcomed by some corners of the trade but dismissed by others as a “missed opportunity”.

The board had proposed extending the standard closing time for bars by one hour to 1am in its draft policy statement. However, the measure was ditched from the final version of the policy, which came into force late last month, with the board stating that there was “not any significant support” shown for the proposal.
It said evidence from Police Scotland suggested such an extension may “unduly impact upon the levels of violence, disorder and anti-social behaviour” in the city centre.
The board will, however, allow on-trade outlets to stay open for an extra hour throughout the Commonwealth Games.
The move has been welcomed by SLTA chief Paul Waterson, who said retaining the differential between pubs and clubs, which have a standard terminal hour of 3am in the city centre, is important.
“Everyone has their own idea about hours but there seems to be a feeling amongst our members that this continual playing around with hours is impacting on some businesses,” he said.
“I can understand it during the Commonwealth Games – that’s logical. But in the general run of things, having pubs in one area open later than those in another can cause problems.
“The differential between pubs and clubs is important.”
Donald MacLeod, who owns Glasgow’s Garage and Cathouse nightclubs and operates Mexican bar and restaurant Juan Chihuahua, also welcomed the retention of a terminal hour of midnight for pubs.
And he said moves to bring so-called hybrid premises in line with late night venues is a “step in the right direction”.
“It means they’ll need to meet the same standards on things like stewards and CCTV, which is a good thing,” he said.
However, SBPA boss Patrick Browne said the board’s decision to scrap the proposed 1am terminal hour for pubs was “disappointing”.
“The fundamental issue is that, under the 2005 Act, there’s nothing that says pubs can’t open until 1am,” he said.
“It’s a missed opportunity; it would have brought Glasgow’s pubs in line with Aberdeen and Edinburgh.”