This pilot scheme will run for a year before its impact on the city is reviewed
Glasgow nightclubs will be able to stay open until 4am after new proposals from the city's licensing board were approved. Clubs can apply for an hour extension and those that meet certain criteria will be granted an extra hour to remain open.
Earlier this year it was reported that Glasgow City Council had requested a public consultation on the license which has now been approved. This new proposal will be operating as a pilot scheme for a year before pubs can apply.
Only venues that can prove that they have prioritised public safety will be granted licenses. These licenses will last for a year before they are reviewed and the impact of the policy as a whole will be reviewed after one year.
It is hoped that the longer opening hours will boost the city's night-time economy, which generates £2.6 billion annually and supports around 16,600 jobs. This policy will also be used to encourage good employment practices, as venues could risk having their license not reviewed if they are not up to standard.
Councillor Matt Kerr, Licensing Board convenor, stated: “There are many examples of good practice in the trade already in this city, but this Board is determined to both broaden and deepen excellence in the trade - acknowledging the vital role that well trained and well supported staff play in delivering that excellence to the public, and delivering on our statutory licensing objectives.
"This is the essence of the 4 am pilot scheme we will introduce through this policy – not a giveaway, but a reasoned approach to policy-making; not simply a reward, but a challenge to the trade of our city.”
However, the plan has not been received well by everyone, with those opposing it highlighting poor transport links and concerns regarding binge drinking.
Paul Waterson, from the Scottish Licensed Trade Association, said, "We don't believe that clubs should be open after 3 am. We think 3 am should be the terminal hour as far as we are concerned. There should be a clear differentiation between pubs and nightclubs. Supervision after 3 am is very difficult as are transport links after that time. We don't believe it's a good idea."
A spokesman for Alcohol Research UK said: "It's the responsibility of local licensing authorities to look after the number and density of alcohol retailers in their area, as well as the times of day at which alcohol can be sold.
"This is a responsibility which should be taken seriously, as greater availability of alcohol is often associated with more alcohol harm in the areas where it's sold. This harm goes far beyond street drinking to higher levels of alcohol-related health conditions, hospital admissions and more."
While for many club owners the proposal seems promising. Donald Macleod, who owns The Garage and Cathouse, said, “Having this in Glasgow is perfect. Glasgow is famous for its nightclub scene so this would be a game changer.”