Agendas, reports and minutes

Highland Licensing Board

Date: Monday, 24 September 2018

Minutes: Read the Minutes

Minute of the meeting of the Highland Licensing Board held in the Council Chamber, Council Headquarters, Glenurquhart Road, Inverness, Monday 24 September 2018 at 10.00 am.


Dr I Cockburn, Mr G Cruickshank, Mr A Jarvie, Mrs E Knox, Mrs L MacDonald, Mr D Macpherson, Mrs P Munro and Mr K Rosie.

In Attendance:

Ms S Blease, Clerk
Miss C McArthur, Depute Clerk
Mr I Cox, Licensing Standards Officer
Mr D Inglis, Licensing Standards Officer
Mrs A MacArthur, Administrative Assistant

Also In Attendance:

Sergeant B Gray, Police Scotland
Mr J Williamson, Police Scotland
Ms L Smart, Consultant in Public Health, NHS Highland
Ms D Stewart, Co-ordinator, Highland Alcohol and Drugs Partnership
Mr R McGhee, Chairman, Highland Licensing Forum

Due to technical difficulties the meeting was not webcast

1.  Apologies for Absence

There were no apologies for absence.

2.  Declarations of Interest
Foillseachaidhean Com-pàirt

There were no declarations of interest.

3.  Highland Licensing Board Policy Statement 2018-2023
Dreachd Aithris Phoileasaidh Co-chomhairle Bòrd Ceadachd na Gàidhealtachd 2018-2023

There had been circulated Report No HLB/088/18 by the Clerk to the Board inviting the Board to agree the terms of its Policy Statement 2018-2023 after hearing from any respondents to the consultation who were present.

Overprovision statement and policy

Ms E Smart presented a short film on the impacts of alcohol abuse and thanked the people who had appeared in the short film. The film participants had been asked for their views on alcohol, how it affected them and the impact on their family life.  The key messages from the film had been:

  • alcohol was readily available;
  • description of  a range of harms and also impact on services;
  • impact on children, families and friends;
  • not able to make a rational decision when under the influence of alcohol; and
  • the role of decision makers.

Ms Smart then outlined changes that had occurred in the last five years:

  • 2014 – changes to drink driving law;
  • 2016 - 14 units stated as a safe limit for men and women;
  • 2016 – advice not to drink if pregnant;
  • 2018 - Minimum unit pricing;
  • more work place policies in place;
  • alcohol brief interventions continue;
  • increased intelligence about accessibility, affordability and availability, and
  • trends in off sales continue to increase.

Slides were then shown on alcohol related mortality rates; alcohol related hospital admission rates in Highland and Scotland 2007-2016; adults exceeding weekly drinking guidelines 2013 – 2016; proportion of adults binge drinking 2013 – 2016; number of premises licences in force per 10,000 population aged 18 and over in Highland and Scotland 2017; and the results of a survey on the availability and purchase of alcohol in the Highlands.

Ms Smart then outlined four possible options for the Licensing Board to consider and outlined the NHS preferred option which was to limit the supply, with no more off-sales licences agreed where the sales capacity is 30 square metres and over, and no more on-sales agreed in the areas of Caithness and Inverness which have higher than average alcohol-related hospital admission rates. 

The Chairman thanked Ms Smart for her presentation and for showing the film.

The Clerk queried the correlation between the number of on sales premises in the Caithness and Inverness Community Partnership Areas and the NHS recommendation that there be no more on sales licences granted in these areas as they had higher than average alcohol-related hospital admission rates.  The figures in fact showed that there was a higher number of on sales premises in the Badenoch and Strathspey Community Partnership Area yet fewer alcohol-related hospital stays in that area.  There did not appear to be any specific evidence that the number of on sales premises in the Caithness and Inverness areas related to the number of alcohol-related hospital stays. 

Members’ comments included:

  • as the Highlands was a huge area there was likely to be more on sales than in other areas;
  • it would be impractical not to have on sales in Caithness especially when trying to promote a tourist industry;
  • when abroad, it had been noted that all cafes sell alcohol not just the dense tourist areas, and they don’t have a problem with alcoholism;
  • no matter how far away people have to travel to purchase alcohol they will source it;
  • if on sales premises were restricted in Inverness there would be no new hotels;
  • in Skye, for example, there were very few pubs, so no overprovision, but still a high rate of hospital admissions;
  • Members had to look at contributory factors and building a bigger picture of the causes;
  • surprised to hear the NHS option to restrict on sales licences, when we are told the on sales premises are safer environments; and
  • overprovision should focus on the number of shops selling alcohol and not the percentage area where alcohol is displayed;

The Clerk advised that the Act specifically required Boards to have regard to both the number and the capacity of licensed premises when considering overprovision.   When the Board had first considered overprovision it had decided to focus on the larger alcohol sales display areas in larger  shops and off sales outlets, as evidence had shown that these offered the greatest accessibility, availability and affordability of alcohol in single locations. Focusing on restricting display area capacity for new off sales licences was a legitimate way to deal with this.

Mr McGhee stated that the Licensing Forum had discussed the overprovision policy at their meeting, and had commented as follows:

  • the general consensus was for option 1 which was the status quo and was considered to be one of the better overprovision policies compared to other Boards;
  • according to Scottish Trade figures three licensed premises per week were closing, the vast majority being on sales;
  • 73% of all sales now were off-sales, and a swing to on-sales should be encouraged;
  • policies should be encouraging people back into pubs where there was more control compared to drinking at home; and
  • alcohol sold on line was a big concern with couriers delivering boxes without knowing the contents of the boxes and not knowing if someone over 18 was at the premises to receive the box, but to tackle this a change was needed in the legislation.

Police Scotland agreed that option 1 was the best option.  Minimum pricing would have an effect but it would take time to see the difference.  The Licensing Standards Officer was already seeing an effect.  The limit to a 40 square metres display area for new off sales premises was considered the correct size at which to draw the line.   The drink driving zero tolerance had made a huge difference overnight.  On sales premises were the safest place to have a drink.  

On the overprovision policy, Mr I Cockburn, seconded by Mr G Cruickshank, then moved that the Board agree Option 1, as set out in the Consultation Draft Policy Statement, which was that the Board should retain its current overprovision policy with no change.

Mr A Jarvie, moved as an amendment, the adoption of the Scottish Borders overprovision policy.  The Clerk questioned whether Mr Jarvie was proposing that the wording of the Scottish Borders policy be adopted in its entirety, and verbatim, as the Highland overprovision policy, or whether he was proposing its adoption only in part or its adoption subject to certain changes.   Members were then given time to read the policy from the Scottish Borders and there being no seconder the amendment fell. 

The Board accordingly agreed that its overprovision statement and policy remain unchanged.

Then, in relation to the other sections of the Consultation Draft Policy Statement as published, which was set out at Appendix 1 to the report, and the consultation responses which had been received and which were set out at Appendix 2, the Board agreed as follows.

Section 2.1 – Premises licence core hours:

The core hours as set out at section 2.1 of the Consultation Draft were agreed, including the additional subsections on early opening at distilleries and specialist off sales premises.

Section 2.2 - Extended hours applications for licensed premises:

The terms of section 2.2 as set out in the Consultation Draft were agreed, with additions to be made by the Clerk to reflect the Highland Licensing Forum’s suggestions as set out in Appendix 2.

Section 2.3 – Festive period hours:

Police Scotland had requested a change to the festive period hours to restrict later opening hours to Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays during the festive period rather than allowing them throughout the three-week period.  It was agreed that, as the festive period extended hours which might be granted for the 2018/2019 festive period had already been publicised, section 2.3 of the Consultation Draft would be adopted as the Board’s current festive period policy in the main Policy Statement but that the Clerk would put forward proposals for a draft supplementary policy statement to apply from 2019/2020 onwards, to accommodate Police Scotland’s suggestions, and that this would then be consulted upon separately. 

Section 2.4 - Occasional licences:

The terms of section 2.4 as set out in the Consultation Draft were agreed.

Section 2.5 – Access to premises by children and young persons:

The terms of section 2.5 as set out in the Consultation Draft were agreed, including the new provisions relating to family and youth-friendly restaurants.

With regard to matters raised by Alcohol Focus Scotland in their consultation response on this section, and potential changes to local conditions in this regard, it was noted that the Highland Licensing Forum and LSOs would shortly be undertaking a review of all of the Board’s local conditions and comparing these to those imposed by other Boards.  The Forum would then put forward any suggestions for changes they considered appropriate and the Board could then consider putting forward a draft supplementary policy statement for consultation, with a view to amending the local conditions set out in the appendices to main Policy Statement.

Section 2.6 - Adult entertainment:

The terms of section 2.6 as set out in the Consultation Draft were agreed, with additions to the adult entertainment local conditions at Appendix 9 to the Consultation Draft to be made by the Clerk to reflect those of the suggestions which had been put forward by the Highland Violence Against Women Partnership which the Clerk had recommended at pages 84 and 85 of Appendix 2 to the report could be accommodated. 

Section 2.7 - Home deliveries:

In response to a question from Members, the Licensing Standards Officer advised that only Police Scotland were able to carry out a mystery shopper visit/test purchase.  A condition requiring that deliveries take place before 10 pm could not be added as, in terms of the Act, as long as goods were purchased before 10 pm they could be delivered at any time before midnight.  The Act prohibited late night deliveries but only between midnight and 0600 hours.

The terms of section 2.7 as set out in the Consultation Draft were then agreed, with additions to be made by the Clerk to reflect those of the suggestions which had been put forward by the Highland Licensing Forum and by NHS Highland which the Clerk had recommended at pages 86 and 87 of Appendix 2 to the report could be accommodated.

Section 2.8 - Clubs:

The terms of section 2.8 as set out in the Consultation Draft were agreed.

Section 2.9 – Plastic/polycarbonate glasses:

The terms of section 2.9 as set out in the Consultation Draft were agreed.

Section 2.10 – Outdoor drinking:

The terms of section 2.10 as set out in the Consultation Draft were agreed, with additions to be made by the Clerk to reflect the suggestions by the Highland Licensing Forum and by Police Scotland set out at page 92 of Appendix 2 to the report.

2.11 – Capacity:

The terms of section 2.11 as set out in the Consultation Draft were agreed.

2.12 – Personal licences:

The terms of section 2.12 as set out in the Consultation Draft were agreed.

Section 2.13 – Overprovision

It had been agreed earlier in the meeting, as minuted above, that the Board’s overprovision statement and policy remain unchanged.

Local Conditions applicable to premises licences (Appendix 7), occasional licences (Appendix 8) and adult entertainment (Appendix 9):

It was agreed that the suggestions by Police Scotland to include conditions requiring premises to have in place a “Prevention of the misuse of drugs policy” and a “Duty of care policy”, in the terms set out at pages 114 to 120 of Appendix 2 to the report be adopted, with the Clerk to make the necessary changes to Appendices 7, 8 and 9 of the Policy Statement.

Section 1.7 – Pubwatch Schemes:

The terms of section 1.7 of the preamble to the Consultation Draft were agreed, with the addition of the statement suggested by Inverness Pubwatch that the Board would welcome and actively support the introduction of Pubwatch schemes in all sizeable towns and conurbations across Highland in support of the five licensing objectives, all of which promote community safety, wellbeing, public protection, and crime reduction.

Remaining sections of the Consultation Draft:

The terms of the remaining sections of the Consultation Draft were agreed without change.

The meeting closed at 12.30 pm.