Late night policies under the spotlight

Tale of two cities: Glasgow and Aberdeen draft statements debated

Glasgow City Chambers
Glasgow has proposed allowing some venues to stay open until 4am

The diverging late night licensing policies of Glasgow and Aberdeen were scrutinised by operators at an industry event which focused on the future of Glasgow’s nightlife.

The event, which was hosted by the Night Time Industries Association (NTIA), saw both city’s policies criticised.

The Glasgow licensing board has proposed in its draft policy statement that late night entertainment venues in the city centre can open until 4am in a pilot programme.

Aberdeen’s draft licensing policy statement, meanwhile, has removed the requirement for late night venues to offer significant entertainment, opening the door for pubs and bars which do not currently qualify for 3am closing to apply for it on Fridays and Saturdays.

That approach was slammed by Donald MacLeod, owner of Glasgow nightclubs The Garage and The Cathouse, who closed his Garage outlet in Aberdeen in May.

He said: “I think it [Aberdeen’s policy] is the most irresponsible licensing policy I’ve ever seen, it’s an absolute disgrace and the board should be ashamed of it.

“To open up all hours is going to kill the nightclubs up there. It killed my club and I invested £3 million up there.

“I had to pull out because cheap drink, no door price and extended hours killed clubs. I do not want this happening in Glasgow.”

Calls were made for Glasgow licensing board to allow venues outwith the city centre to be allowed to benefit from the extension to 4am.

Jonathan Dawson, general manager of SWG3 in Glasgow’s west end, said the proposal would see venues outwith the city centre “penalised simply because of geography” and should be extended to other parts of the city.

Keynote speaker and licensing lawyer Stephen McGowan of TLT Solicitors told those in attendance that the 4am licence would not be easy to obtain.

He said: “If people think the Glasgow board will hand out 4am licences like confetti, then I’m going to have to rob them of that impression.”