Firm late with accommodation barges’ licensing fees

A strongly worded letter is to be sent to facilities management company Sodexo following a number of late payments for the alcohol licences for accommodation barges.

Several members at a meeting of the Shetland Area Licensing Board expressed their disappointment with late payment of licensing fees including convener George Smith, who said a great deal of time had been spent by officers and the board, working with the company, sometimes at short notice on licence extensions.

Lerwick South councillor Amanda Westlake questioned whether it was because of Sodexo managerial issues and a lack of respect for the local authority.

SIC convener Malcolm Bell said the board had “bent over backwards” to assist Sodexo and said the public would be astounded that with the amount of money involved in the gas plant project, such a paltry sum of money had not been paid.

Only at “the last minute they came with the cheque book,” he said.

The Gemini is one of the ‘premises’ with a licence operated by Sodexo.

Licence holder Sodexo had a number of outstanding payments – four annual fees of £180 for 2015/16 had not been paid on time – regarding the Bibby Stockholm, Kalmar, Gemini and Sans Vitesse.

The Gemini also had an unpaid balance fee of £44.16 from 2014/15.

Depute clerk to the board Keith Adam said the money had been paid in full by Sodexo prior to the meeting of the board.

Sodexo had been warned about the payments, he explained though there seemed to be breakdown in communication between staff in Aberdeen and staff in Shetland.

Members were asked to consider if further action was needed by way of a review.

Lerwick south councillor Peter Campbell said a strongly worded letter should be sent to Sodexo stating it was the only organisation in the licensing board area that did not pay on time and if there was a similar situation next year the board would move to review licences.

This was backed by members.

Meanwhile longer licensing hours for Christmas and New Year have been agreed.

Members agreed to grant a general extension and allow all licensed on-sales premises – pubs and bars – to remain open daily until 2am, from 19th December to 3rd January.

It also agreed all licensed nightclubs, already permitted to stay open on certain days of the week to 3am, could remain open daily until 3am during the same festive period, or to permit such extensions during another period or other hours as the board sees fit.

Members also agreed on alcohol licensing for halls at Up-Helly-A’ and fire festivals.

General extensions given the green light included the Jarl’s breakfast.

It also agreed Lerwick Up-Helly-A’ licensed halls be granted a licence until event close at 9am though the bars should close at 3.30am. Other Up-Helly-A’ and fire festival halls would also be granted an extension until event close at 4am, though bars close at 3.30am.


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