Revelers at the Northmavine Up-Helly-A’ hop night will be given an extra hour to drink up after an application for a licensing extension was granted.
Applicant Neil Doull was seeking an extension of licensed hours allowing the Sullom and Gunnister hall to serve drink until 2am instead of 1am during the North Mainland hop night on 23rd February.
But one councillor tried to have the proposal refused because he felt a “dangerous precedent” was being set.
It comes a year after a similar application was granted to another hall in the North Mainland.
Mr Doull told Monday’s licensing board meeting at the town hall that the extension would allow the event to “wind down” naturally.
He stressed the kitchen would be open at the time, which would allow people to have a drink with their food.
He said he expected mainly soft drinks to be sold during the extra hour.
“If it’s in the halls it’s controlled – we’d be trying to discourage carry-outs,” he told the board.
But Lerwick North councillor Malcolm Bell raised concerns about the proposal after hearing the application was being put forward for the first time.
He questioned whether the application would come back to the board for consideration in future years.
Legal clerk Paul Wishart said the matter could be dealt with by officials under delegated powers in subsequent years.
“So it would set a precedent,” said Mr Bell. “If we grant an hour we grant an hour to sell alcohol – it’s as simple as that.
“The idea that we grant a license to let things ease off or sell mainly soft drinks doesn’t come into it. I think it’s a dangerous precedent to set.”
He called for an amendment to be made which could have seen the proposal refused, but failed to secure a seconder.
North Mainland councillor Alastair Cooper said the hop night was a “well run event,” which counted as a “special event for the North Mainland.”
Moving the application be approved, Mr Cooper added: “It’s one of the big nights of the year.”
He was seconded by Cecil Smith.
Chairman Ian Scott said: “We don’t have a seconder for the amendment, therefore the application is granted.”
Earlier, the board also approved an application from Scalloway Meat Company to increase its off-sale display area from 13 square metres to 16.1 square metres.
During that part of the meeting Mr Bell stressed he had no objections, but added there was no indication of the percentage of the shop floor which the off-sale display would cover.
• The council’s licensing committee noted Sheriff Ian Cruickshank’s decision to uphold an appeal by knitwear company Bakka after the SIC refused a street trading application in June this year.
See this week’s Shetland Times for more on that story.