Aberdeen licensing chiefs urged to only allow shops to sell booze if they are a certain distance away from each other

Chairman of the Aberdeen city local licensing forum Alexander Kelman has written to board convener Councillor Marie Boulton (pictured) outlining the changes he believes need to be made to policy involving booze.

Licensing chiefs have been urged to set strict guidelines only allowing shops to sell booze if they are a certain distance away from each other.

Another recommendation made by Aberdeen city local licensing forum to the licensing board suggests restricting the amount of shelf space vendors are allowed to dedicate to selling products containing alcohol.

Chairman of the Aberdeen city local licensing forum Alexander Kelman has written to board convener Councillor Marie Boulton outlining the changes he believes need to be made to policy involving booze.

In his letter, he said: “The local licensing forum feels the licensing board should have a section in its statement of licensing policy which states there is a presumption that no new licences will be granted for a new premises within set minimum distances.

“The option would be open for the licensing board in its policy to detail a range of distances, depending upon factors such as whether it is in the city centre or in the suburbs and what type of premises it is, for example, on-sales, off-sales, restaurant etc.”

The forum, made up of holders of premises licences as well as health professionals, also hopes to introduce a rule ensuring off-licenses are only permitted to display alcohol within a certain amount of shelf space.

In his letter, Mr Kelman added: “Although availability generally relates to access to premises which sell alcohol, general exposure to alcohol also plays a significant role.

“One cannot therefore be surprised that alcohol problems have increased over the last decades, when there is greater visible access to the product.

“The forum therefore suggests the licensing board should consider a section within its statement of licensing policy which gives a maximum shelf space that it will permit in a supermarket/grocer for off-sales purposes in comparison to the overall shelf space in the premises.

“This would help manage the exposure to alcohol and reiterate the message that alcohol is no ordinary commodity.”

The latest performance and quality report from NHS Grampian revealed 26% of people in the North-east have an unhealthy level of alcohol consumption.

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