‘Pragmatic’ approach needed as Aberdeen premises bid for longer hours

The College has applied to extend its opening hours until 2am.

Calls have been made for “pragmatic” decision making after three Aberdeen premises made a bid to extend their opening hours.

Babylon nightclub has applied for a 4am licence, while Soul and The College have both gone in for a 2am extension.

Adrian Watson, chief executive of Aberdeen Inspired, said: “Aberdeen Inspired wants to see a vibrant evening economy and build on the great mix of pubs and clubs in the city centre.

“We of course need to be aware of current and changing trends, one of which is a desire for longer opening hours in pubs.

“Some of our levy payers have raised this to us and this wish is something that is currently being reflected in the applications that are being submitted to the licensing board.

“Having just overseen the fourth consecutive Purple Flag award, Aberdeen Inspired and our partners would expect a pragmatic and evidence-based approach to be taken with each application.

“This city centre continues to be one of the safest of its kind in the country and although we cannot afford to be complacent, we all ought to be reassured by this and look to support our night-time businesses where we can.”

Nightclubs in Aberdeen currently close at 3am, while casinos have later licences.

These latest applications came after Aberdeen City Council’s licensing board rejected a move in November by Redemption on Belmont Street to open until 4am.

The premises shut last month with owner, the Epic Group, blaming an increase in competition from casinos, which have later drinking licences.

Councillor Alan Donnelly, who sits on the licensing board, was the only member who voted in favour of an extension.

He said a democratic decision would be made about these latest applications after hearing evidence from stakeholders.

But he warned the Granite City’s economy is “taking a nose dive off a cliff” and that new avenues should be investigated.

He added: “We need to have a pilot scheme to extend licensing hours in the city. We know the night-time economy is struggling, it employs a lot of people so there are jobs to consider. They need help and support.”