Workers staying on board the Kalmar accommodation barge will be able to enjoy a drink without having to venture round the pubs, despite concerns the move “verges on over-provision”.
Shetland Islands Council’s area licensing board today agreed to grant the Kalmar an on-sales licence from 5pm to midnight, seven days a week.
Councillor Alastair Cooper was worried about a high concentration of drinking venues in the town centre.
“We have the Queens, Flints, Lounge, Noost, Thule and now yun place. It’s verging on over-provision.”
Mr Cooper stopped short of urging refusal after hearing the barge, and the amounts of alcohol consumed, would be strictly monitored. The licence is only needed for a nine-month period.
But he said he was concerned about the number of bars in the area.
Allison Duncan was worried already stretched police resources might be tested further if additional licences were issued by the board.
Inspector Eddie Graham admitted there would be “some form of knock-on” for the police, as the barge would be on the “patrol plan” of licensed premises requiring visits.
But he said the strict monitoring meant he would raise no objections.
“There shouldn’t be anyone who is not entitled to be on the barge. The barge itself should be solely for the workforce resident on the barge. The times are acceptable and … there is strict policy in relation to the level of consumption.”
Council convener Malcolm Bell said he took Mr Cooper’s concerns seriously.
But he said granting the licence would help meet the demand, and moved the recommendation.
“The likelihood is there will be a temporary over-provision, but at the same time there is a degree of over-provision of customers. In some ways this will help manage that situation,” he said.
Cecil Smith said a licence had already been granted to the Bibby Stockholm at the Morrison Dock. He said the board could take the operators to task if any problems occurred.
“We’ve already issued a licence to the Bibby Stockholm. We have responsibility and, if anything does go wrong, we can take their licence away from them.”
Chairman George Smith said that, while there were a number of licensed premises in the area, there was a “controlled mechanism” applied in the Kalmar’s case.
Members also allowed a variation of the hours on the Bibby Stockholm.
They had already granted hours from 6.30pm to 11pm. However the variation allows the licence to run from 5pm to midnight instead.
Mr Cooper said 5pm seemed an early time as workers would be just coming off site at that time.
But he moved approval after being reminded of different shift-patterns workers operate under.