Nightclub wins 2.30am concession and hotel becomes more child friendly

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A HAWICK nightclub will be able to stay open until 2.30am on Fridays and Saturdays following a private hearing of Scottish Borders Council’s licensing board.

Martin Elsdon of Diesels in Teviot Crescent was seeking a variation of his existing premises licence which demanded his nightclub be cleared by 2am at weekends.

Anne Isles, the legal adviser to the board, said councillors had agreed that, although no drink could be sold after 2am, customers would have 15 minutes drinking-up time and music could now be played until 2.30am.

The decision means that Diesels has partially bridged the gap with the two Galashiels nightspots – Move and the Indigo Rooms – which are licensed to 3am on Friday and Saturday.

Also in private, the board agreed last week that a written warning should be issued to the licensee of The Keg bar in High Street, Peebles, after the police asked for the premises licence to be reviewed.

Mrs Isles declined to comment on the nature of the alleged breach, but confirmed that a written warning was the most lenient sanction open to the board, which had the power to suspend or revoke a premises licence.

The Station Bar in Selkirk, which was also subject of a police report, will have to wait until January 28 to learn its fate.

It follows an alleged breach of its licence conditions, discovered during a visit by the board’s licensing standards officer and the police on the morning of Selkirk Common Riding in June when, it is alleged, alcohol was sold outwith permitted hours.

The board heard that the pub owners had appointed new legal representation and time was required for the solicitor to be briefed.

Meanwhile, the owners of Selkirk’s County Hotel won a landmark victory by successfully challenging a 9pm curfew for children and young people dining with adults in their restaurant.

As a result, Wille Haegeland and Trond Dalby, pictured left, who acquired the former coaching inn in 2004, say they can look forward to next year’s tourism season with renewed confidence.

“This is very much aimed at catering for families, especially guests from Mediterranean countries who are used to dining late,” said Mr Dalby. “It is certainly not about encouraging young people to drink.”

The County is the first hotel in the region to win the concession from the board, which has a policy of no youngsters in licensed areas after 9pm.

Messrs Haegeland and Dalby wanted existing time restrictions removed and extended for the duration of their so-called core hours – till 11pm most nights, midnight on Thursday, and 1am Friday and Saturday. The variation cost the hotel a fee of £200.

Mrs Isles told us: “Councillors were satisfied that food would not be served up to these hours and took account of the fact the premises are very well run and that children would come to no harm as a result.

“The concession beyond 9pm only applies to the County and that deadline remains the board’s general policy, although other premises can make similar applications for variation.”

Mr Dalby confirmed that meals in the main restaurant would not be served beyond 9pm.

He said: “What this means is that families can now sit down together at 9pm and enjoy their meal with no pressure to leave, although we would expect dining to be finished by no later than 10.30pm.”

The board meeting also heard that 12 licensees who had been cited to appear for late payment of their premises licence fees, ranging from £220 to £700, by the due date of October 31, had now paid.