Call for policies of licensing board to help Aberdeen nightclubs

Babylon had a 4am opening request knocked back.

Aberdeen’s nightclub owners have said more action is needed to prevent businesses closing.

The message comes ahead of the final Aberdeen City Council licensing meeting before the local authority elections in May.

Calls have been made to shape the next licensing board’s policy in a way that takes into account the impact it makes on the night-time economy’s ability to thrive.

Tony Cochrane owns the Granite City venues Club Tropicana, Franklyn’s, Vogue, Sing City and Private Eyes.

He said: “Nightclubs are feeling the pinch up and down the country; it’s a dying breed.

“They have to think it through properly. These are big venues that have a large amount of workers so it’s a lot of jobs.”

Mr Cochrane claimed the “ideal scenario” would be if pubs were only allowed to stay open until 1am.

His comments were backed by Mike Wilson, chief executive of Epic Group.

He said: “We certainly would agree that proper consideration has to be given to the effect policy has on the industry.

“It needs to be refreshed and developed properly.”

Some bars in the Granite City – such as Soul on Union Street and the Foundry on Holburn Street – have a 2am licence on Fridays and Saturdays.

Mr Cochrane said this added to strain on police resources because it meant there was a two-hour peak time when people are leaving bars and then clubs at 3am.

He added that a 4am licence for some night-time venues could also help.

Babylon had a bid to extend its hours rejected by the licensing board earlier this month.

Aberdeen City Council declined to comment.

Councillor Alan Donnelly, who sits on the current board, said: “I just ask the licensing trade to be patient, build bridges and express their concerns with members on the new board – whoever they may be.

“I hear what they’re saying and I know where they’re coming from.

“I know of the serious impact there has been on night-time economies as well as the hospitality sector.

“I’m well aware that something has to be delivered for all.

“We need a get a licensing policy that’s suitable for everybody.”

Cllr Donnelly added that it would be “difficult” to remove 2am opening hours for pubs but has previously backed 4am licences.