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Little enthusiasm for Jubilee drinks extension

By SPP Reporter

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Licence extensions unlikely
Licence extensions unlikely

A PLEA to extend opening hours of Highland pubs to celebrate the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee in the summer looks set to be rejected.

The monarch marks 60 years on the throne in June and a series of high-profile national events, including a televised concert at Buckingham Place, have been arranged.

In the Highlands, council staff have been given the day off and schools will shut to mark the royal occasion.

The event prompted a national licensed trade association to seek an extension of opening hours across the Highlands but the region’s licensing board has been urged to veto the request because there is “little interest” amongst landlords.

However, a local traders group has said it may be too early to gauge interest amongst its members and will hold talks next month on the issue.

The Scottish Beer and Pub Association (SBPA) has argued that the royal celebration is exactly the sort of event which is nationally significant and should be recognised.

It asked the Highland Licensing Board to extend normal licensed hours by one hour on Sunday 3rd June and Monday 4th June, the latter date being the public holiday.

Licensing standards officer Ian Cox said the existing rules were “sufficient to enable ample celebration of the occasion”, in a report to the board, which meets in Inverness tomorrow to discuss the request and draw up a policy for the jubilee.

No other requests were made and Mr Cox said there appeared to be “little interest” from licensees wishing to extend hours after he carried out his own enquiries.

However, Ramsay McGhee, manager of the Inverness, Highlands and Islands Licensed Trade Association – which is a separate body to the SPBA – said it had not been consulted.

“If the trade has not applied for an extension it doesn’t necessarily mean there is no interest yet,” he said.

“Most of them are just working day-to-day at the moment to make ends meet and it is still a bit away.”

However, Mr McGhee admitted he had not detected much enthusiasm for the royal event locally so far but members could discuss the matter at a scheduled meeting in April.

Mr Cox said the board could use the example of last year’s royal wedding of Prince William and Catherine Middleton as a yardstick because no blanket licensing extensions were approved.

Garden and street parties and afternoon and evening marquees were held and Mr Cox added there was one out-of-hours request from a Highland garden centre to serve champagne from 9am at a wedding themed charity event.

Any one-off licence extension requests in connection with the jubilee could still be made to the board.

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