Overprovision focus in capital

“Serious consideration” required, says councillor

By Dave Hunter

EDINBURGH licensing board has to give “serious consideration” to how it deals with the issue of overprovision in the city, according to one board member.
Speaking to SLTN, councillor Cammy Day said there is “quite a saturation of licensed premises” in parts of the city and the board should work with the city’s licensing forum to determine how to deal with licence applications in certain areas of the city.
The board’s current overprovision policy identifies the Grassmarket and Cowgate areas as overprovided and seven ‘zones’ across the city as of “particular special concern”.
Day said that the board should have a “real, serious look” at three of these zones, in particular – in Leith, Leith Walk and Tollcross – with a focus on off-sales premises.
“I wouldn’t say I’m anti-supermarket,” said Day. “But I think we’re becoming oversaturated with cheaper-bought alcohol. You can go into any of the large supermarkets and buy a box of beer for £8. If you go to George Street it would cost you that for one or two drinks.
“I have a dilemma about this, because the premises the people end up in get the blame for any anti-social behaviour or over-consumption, when the reality is the over-consumption is happening at home. That’s a dilemma for us.”
Day said he hoped the board could work with the city’s licensing forum in the new year to review the city’s approach to overprovision.
“I’m not at all about stopping any businesses coming into the city that will help Edinburgh thrive,” said Day. “But the other side of that is the impact alcohol has on the city in terms of health, policing and other resources.
“We need to do something, and for me that’s about taking a bit of a closer look at some of these particular areas and asking if we need any more off-sales in that area.
“I’m not sure if the legislation can do this but it might be about saying that a particular zone has enough off-sales, but we may permit more on-sales, or vice-versa.”