Trade backs report claiming area is overprovided
By Dave Hunter
OPERATORS and the Scottish Licensed Trade Association (SLTA) have welcomed moves to stop the awarding of new premises licences in Dundee.
Health lobbying group the Dundee Alcohol & Drug Partnership (ADP) has called on the city’s licensing board to deem the entire area overprovided in terms of licensed premises.
The organisation, which includes Dundee Council, NHS Tayside and Police Scotland, presented a report to the board last week linking the availability of alcohol in the city to a range of social and economic problems. It included health and crime statistics, as well as input from residents.
Speaking to SLTN Peter Harvey, general manager of Dundee nightclub The Vu, said he agreed with the ADP’s report, stating that in his opinion there had been “too many extra licences handed out” in the city in recent years.
And John Black, owner of The Fort Hotel in outlying area Broughty Ferry, said: “A pub used to be where you went to get alcohol, but now you can pretty much get it served anywhere. And I think Dundee, and especially Broughty Ferry, has enough pubs. I wouldn’t like them to [grant] any more. I think it is too easy to get a licence now.”
The sentiment was echoed by SLTA chief executive Paul Waterson, who reiterated calls for a national limit on the number of premises licences.
“We [the SLTA] think that there’s far too many premises chasing far too few customers,” he said. “It creates a downward pressure on prices, which contributes to alcohol abuse, as competition overtakes responsible retailing.”
A spokeswoman for Police Scotland said alcohol is a contributing factor in 70% of assault, vandalism and breach of the peace offences in Dundee.
“The greater the availability of alcohol, the greater the number of crimes and victims – this is a simple but compelling argument which we support,” she said.
A spokesman for Dundee licensing board confirmed the board is considering the report. “Members have requested that the clerk to the board prepares an options paper for their consideration at the next meeting in February,” he said.
However, SBPA chief executive Patrick Browne said such reports should make a distinction between on and off-sales.
“Pubs are about much more than alcohol,” he said. “They’re about food, about a wider offer. So to play this narrow, simplistic numbers game really doesn’t give the whole picture.”