The Scottish Licensed Trade Association has criticised the islands’ licensing board’s decision to grant occasional 2am licences for nightclub-style events at Mareel.
On Friday the board voted 3-2 to approve a number of 2am licences for dance DJ nights between now and the end of the year.
That meant a late finish for the first ever club night at the £12 million venue when one of Scotland’s leading dance acts, the Slam DJs, performed on Friday.
But Scottish Licensed Trade Association chief executive Paul Waterson contacted this newspaper on Monday to query why the board had voted the way it did, having last year turned down Shetland Arts’ application for a routine 2am licence.
He said: “It seems very unfair that Mareel has been granted these licences when there must have been reasons why they weren’t before. It seems to be a policy deviation by the licensing board, and we’d like to know why they’d come up with this in such a small area where there are already places which are catering for that late night business.”
Mr Waterson said local trade association members were unhappy about the decision, adding that the venue “seems to have advantages over the normal businesses in the area”.
“Nightclubs are a very specialised form of licensed entertainment, there’s many checks and balances on it and just to grant occasional licences to that time, that needs to be explained,” he continued.
Following Friday’s meeting, licensing board chairman George Smith said that if Shetland Arts was planning to stage regular club nights at Mareel, the board would expect it to adjust its operating plan to reflect that.