The fate of an under-fire Aberdeen pub will be decided at a public hearing.
Members of the city council’s licensing board met to discuss granting a new occasional licence to the Draft Project on Langstane Place, which was heavily criticised after videos emerged of customers shouting and hugging during Scotland’s Euro 2020 playoff victory over Serbia.
The footage, which showed jubilant fans appearing to disregard Covid-19 regulations, was widely condemned in the wake of the incident, and the Draft Project was ordered to remove its televisions as a result.
Police also visited and removed several people from the premises during the dramatic penalty shoot-out victory.
Now it will be prevented from opening until a public hearing has been held into whether to grant it a fresh licence – allowing objectors the chance to have their say on the application.
Its current licence expired today (Friday) – meaning it will not be able to open this weekend.
A city council spokesman said: “A sub-committee of the Licensing Board met and having considered the written submissions, determined that a full Licensing Board hearing was appropriate. No date for this has yet been fixed, but will be as soon as practicable.”
PB Devco were contacted for comment.
Earlier on Friday a hastily-arranged meeting of the special licensing objections committee voted not to make a representation at the board meeting.
Conservative councillor Ryan Houghton, who convened the special meeting, said it would be a “peculiar step” to intervene.
“To use the council in this way for one specific premises, when we have a licensing board sitting this afternoon feels peculiar to me,” he said.
“I understand there is definitely a lot of public concern relating to videos around the premises on the night of a football game where a ‘once in a generation’ – some might say – goal was scored and people were very excitable.
“However I also saw videos of many premises in Aberdeen displaying pretty much the same behaviour and to my knowledge there is no other request to determine any other premises’ occasional licence.
“So I am a little concerned we seem to be singling out one single premises.
“We have public health officials and police who would be best placed to make objections based on evidence and the facts as they know them, dealing with these matters on a routine basis – as opposed to us, it seems to me, getting together off the back of media interest in this one particular premises.”
Liberal Democrat councillor Steve Delaney – who proposed the council objected – countered: “We have all seen the videos on social media and in the middle of a health pandemic it is very concerning.
“It is very much in order for this committee to put forward an objection, the council is a statutory consultee on licensing matters – the council is perfectly within its rights to do so.
“I feel leadership has to be shown at such a time.
“It is understood people were quite rightly euphoric at the Scotland game given the excellent result.
“We need to look at this particular incident – football matches are not exactly a new phenomenon and licensed premises are very much used to managing them.
“But unfortunately these premises found themselves unable to manage the situation – which anyone could have reasonably foreseen.
“There was a lack of social distancing, shouting, signing – all breaches of Covid-19 regulations presenting serious threats to public safety and public health.
“In Aberdeen we quite rightly expect the very highest standards with regards to management of our licensed premises.
“The hospitality sector is under an awful lot of pressure right now because of coronavirus, and incidents of this type really do let the sector down.”