By Dave Hunter
Glasgow bar and club operators have dismissed a suggestion that the city should consider moving to a 24-hour licensing model.
The comment, made by professor John Lennon of Glasgow Caledonian University’s Moffat Centre, followed the publication of a study into Glasgow’s night time economy.
The research, carried out by the Moffat Centre, found that the industry (defined as activity between 6pm and 6am) generates £2.16 billion for the city every year.
The research was commissioned by Glasgow Chamber of Commerce on behalf of the city council.
Commenting after the publication of the report Lennon said: “Competitor cities like London and Manchester are actively developing a 24 hour model of operation, which is increasingly expected.
“We have to look hard at our licensing and transport infrastructure and ask ourselves, can we seriously compete?”
Operators contacted by SLTN were not enthusiastic about the suggestion, however.
Donald MacLeod, owner of Glasgow nightclubs The Garage and the Cathouse, said he thought “most folk would totally go against it”.
“That comment, to me, was the most significant thing about the report,” said MacLeod.
“It wasn’t endorsed within the executive proposal for the night time strategy. But it was still made.
“Is this where we’re heading, without saying it?”
And he argued that “tampering” with licensing hours since the introduction of the 2005 Licensing Act has already damaged the city’s late-night economy.
“It’s lovely to see all these people employed,” said MacLeod.
“It’s lovely to be celebrated, in a way. But how many more could be working? How many jobs have been lost?
“How many pubs have been shut?
“The local pubs have almost disappeared.”
Neil Connolly, owner of Bath Street bar Moskito, was also against the idea of 24-hour licensing.
“I don’t think Glasgow is a big enough city to need 24-hour licensing,” he said.
“I don’t think people need to be able to drink at seven or eight in the morning.
“I think in this country we have a bit of an issue with alcohol. I’m a purveyor of alcohol, but I do think we need a bit of control.
“I don’t think there’s a necessity for 24-hour drinking.”
The research, which also studied the value of the city’s retail sector, was commissioned to help inform the city council’s City Centre Strategy, a five-year plan launched in 2014 “aimed at ensuring Glasgow remains one of the top city centres and urban tourism destinations in Europe”.
As well as the city centre itself, the study took in the Finnieston and west end areas of Glasgow.
A spokesman for Glasgow licensing board said: “Our policy on opening hours is routinely considered as part of the regular review of our policy statement. We consult extensively on the policy statement and we will begin to engage with stakeholders after a new board is formed following the local government elections in 2017.
“Our current policy follows the licensing legislation presumption against continuous 24-hour licensing unless there are exceptional circumstances which would justify opening for such a period of time.”