Overprovision unfair claim

Monday November 19th 2018

Dalkeith Pubs

Written by Local Democracy Reporter, Marie Sharp

Three Midlothian communities classed as having an overprovision of licensed premises have been downgraded amid claims the description was unfair.

Councillors raised concerns that branding Dalkeith, Loanhead and Straiton as overprovided for when it came to alcohol sale would lead to small local stores being refused licences in the future.

But they said it was unlikely the licensing board would apply the same rule to any application from a major supermarket or hotel/restaurant complex which wanted to move into the same areas.

At a meeting of Midlothian Licensing Board, Councillor Derek Milligan questioned whether members would turn down a major application from a supermarket which could benefit the area, for a licence to sell alcohol.

He said: “We have to be fair across the board, we cannot say it is okay for a supermarket but not for a local shop.”

The board was being asked to approve a licensing policy which classed Dalkeith, Loanhead, Straiton and Thornybank as overprovided for – a move which would mean the board would refuse future licences without a robust argument.

After debate they agreed to keep Thornybank in their overprovision statement and downgrade Dalkeith, Loanhead and Straiton into the lower category of “areas of concern”.

In drafting up the policy the board had considered a report which revealed that Thornybank had twice the number of alcohol-related incidence of violence than anywhere else in the county and a higher than average number of pubs.

The policy, which was given the green light, included tougher new restrictions on children and young people such as requiring restaurant and pub staff to monitor the amount parents drink when out with children, barring youngsters from going within one metre of a bar or attending organised events where alcohol is served.

An additional clause demanding children and young people were banned from any licensed establishment unless they were attending a meal was also thrown out amid concerns it would prohibit them from family functions such as wedding receptions.

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