A provisional licensing application by the new Moorfield Hotel near Brae for both on- and off-sales of alcohol has been granted by the council’s licensing board. However, the board denied the hotel’s request to sell alcohol from 8am, instead granting permission for on-sales to begin at 11am.
The hotel, represented at the meeting this morning by solicitor Linda Knarston, had applied for on-sales hours of 8am to 1am, and off-sales hours of 10am to 10pm.
An objection to the application by Delting Community Council had been received by the board, which argued that there was already overprovision of licensed premises in the area. The community council also questioned the need for off-sales at the hotel, when these were already available at several places in the area. Tagon Stores in Voe likewise questioned the necessity for selling alcohol on an off-sales basis.
Ms Knarston rejected both of these suggestions. There is no overprovision in Brae, she said, and off-sales are common at hotels, including the Brae Hotel.
The need for an on-sales license beginning at 8am was, according to the application, because workers staying at the hotel “do make friends with locals … and they may wish to meet early for breakfast and / or refreshments before heading off to explore the island. Tourists may also wish to visit for breakfast and / or refreshments if out walking.” (Residents at hotels can, under current rules, be served alcohol outside normal licensing hours.)
This argument was not accepted by the board however. A representative of Police Scotland, Inspector Eddie Graham, said he was “not quite sold on the need for an 8am start”.
Councillor Gary Robinson agreed, saying, “I don’t think there is a proven need for us to move away from the normal licensing hours”.
More than one member of the board expressed concern that tourists or visitors might be “drawn in” to the bar at an early hour, perhaps consuming alcohol before driving. This was not something that should be encouraged, it was felt.
There was, however, no objection from the board to the hotel selling off-sales, and the license for both on- and off-sales was agreed, with a start time of 11am being the only revision.