Edinburgh’s Licensing Board is seeking views on the rules and requirements for licenses to sell alcohol - whether it’s sold for consumption on a premises (on-sales) or to take away (off-sales).
This is set out in the Statement of Licensing Policy, which is referred to by the Board when considering applications for licensing the sale of alcohol, and in its expectations of licence-holders in operating their premises.
The Licensing Board sits separately from the City of Edinburgh Council and is the licensing authority for premises selling alcohol in the area, like supermarkets, convenience stores, pubs, restaurants, and nightclubs.
As part of the process of preparing a new Statement of Licensing Policy, the Board is now seeking views on the current policy. While people can comment on any element of interest to them, the Board is particularly interested to hear views on licensing hours, temporary licences and the overprovision of licensed premises. Areas for comment include:
- Existing licensed hours (currently generally 10am to 10pm for off-sales premises and 9am to 1am for on-sales licensed premises, with later hours for casinos and venues offering entertainment)
- The extension of licensed hours applications, for example during the summer festivals and Christmas festive period
- Children and young people's access to on-sales licensed premises (while each licence application is considered on merit, the current starting assumption for access to licensed premises is 11pm for children and 1am for young people (14-17yrs). Children’s access times can also be extended to 1am if it’s a private event
- Temporary licensing, including the use of occasional licences for one-off events or short periods, and the ability to apply for an unlimited number of these
- Overprovision – whether certain streets or communities, or areas of the city, have too many licensed premises, in terms of numbers and capacity
The Board is required to prepare a new policy every five years, and this must promote its licensing objectives - the prevention of nuisance, crime and disorder, securing public safety and protecting young people and public health.
Public engagement on the policy will take place in two stages, with the current, informal consultation helping to shape a more detailed, formal consultation process due to take place in early 2023. The Board then must agree and publish its new policy by November 2023.
Councillor Louise Young, Licensing Board Convener, said:
The Statement of Licensing Policy is central to how we consider and make decisions on alcohol licensing applications, and supports key objectives which are focused on the health and protection of the public.
We want to hear as wide a range of views as possible as we prepare to update the policy. I would encourage everyone to take a look at our consultation and tell us what they think about what works well and what could be improved.
We’ll use the findings of this consultation along with the previous Licensing Policy (which had its last full review in 2018) to help us ensure the safety and wellbeing of the public, while also maintaining Edinburgh’s rich and varied entertainment and dining scene.
The Licensing Board Policy Consultation is open until 20 December.