New licence for Bressay’s Maryfield House Hotel

The recently reopened Maryfield House Hotel in Bressay was granted an off-sales licence which will allow islanders to buy alcohol for home consumption until 10pm.

Previously Bressay residents could only purchase off-sales alcohol from the local shop, open until 6.15pm most evenings.

But the hotel will be able to provide the service after successfully applying for the off-sales licence.

The application was passed without objection or amendment from councillors, despite comments from the health board and a resident in a neighbouring property.

Bressay’s Maryfield House Hotel has been granted a new off-sales licence. Photo: Mark Berry

The neighbour’s daughter had written to the board saying that although her mother had no objection to the licence being granted she would like to request that patrons park their vehicles in the main car park as opposed to the smaller gravel one close to her bedroom.

This message was noted by members of the board and relayed to proprietor James Thomas.

Comments were also sent to the committee by the health board, who noted that reductions in off-sales trading hours can be linked to “a reduction in alcohol purchase and consumption and, subsequently, a reduction in alcohol-related harms.”

Again the board noted the comments but determined that this was not grounds for dismissing the application.

Committee chairman George Smith said the board had a duty “to give due consideration at all times to over-provision” but board members noted the hotel would be the only place in Bressay where off-sales would be available until 10pm so there was not an over-provision of off-sales outlets.

Malcolm Bell sang the praises of the hotel before moving that the licence should be granted.

He said: “I’m delighted that Maryfield House Hotel has reopened… It’s really great to see the lights back on again.”

The board also granted an on-sales licence meaning alcohol can be sold on the premises from 11am until midnight Sunday to Thursday and until 1am on Fridays and Saturdays.


“We have to say a huge thank you to everyone in Bressay. The people here have been really, really helpful.” JAMES THOMAS


Maryfield House Hotel was closed for over two years until James and Nelly Thomas purchased the business in late 2016.

The couple have been working on renovating the building since moving north, a task which is ongoing with “lots of work to be done”, said Mr Thomas.

Speaking after the meeting Mr Thomas said: “But the whole island has given us a hell of a lot of support. We have the pool team coming back and possibly the darts team too. We had the beard shaving for Up-Helly-A’. Life is coming back to the island.”

“When we came to Shetland we came with a 40-foot truck. Ten people from the island came to help us unload and something we thought would take two days took only two hours.

The Maryfield House Hotel. Photo: Mark Berry

“We have to say a huge thank you to everyone in Bressay. The people here have been really, really helpful.”

A Canadian couple, Patrick and Morgan Blanch, who had taken over the running of the hotel in 2013 shocked the Bressay community a year later when they unexpectedly left the business leaving the hotel in disarray.

The property then went up for sale for offers over £225,000 and was purchased by Mr and Mrs Thomas, who had previously run the Luib Hotel in Killin And Crianlarich.

Meanwhile, the licensing board also agreed to grant the customary temporary licence to the Simmer Dim Rally Committee, for the marquee at the rear of the Ollaberry Hall.

This means that the event will be able to serve alcohol from 12pm until 2am from Thursday 15th June until Saturday 17th June.

Also approved at the meeting without much comment or discussion were a number of fees charged for licences.

The fees for applications such as replacing lost licences and temporary premises licences were raised by two per cent, in line with inflation since the last time fees were revised, rounded to the nearest £5.


Add Your Comment
  • Stephen Howarth

    • March 15th, 2017 13:37

    Here in the depths of Nottinghamshire, it’s a pleasure to read about Maryfield House coming back to life step by step. I look forward to visiting next time I’m home.


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