Nightclub cites romantic role in late licence bid

The Vibe Nigtclub, Vault Square, Kelso
The Vibe Nigtclub, Vault Square, Kelso

A Kelso businessman has claimed this week that around 40 per cent of newlyweds in the town met for the first time in his nightclub.

“It is a much-loved local institution,” states Ian Hastings in a letter to Scottish Borders Licensing Board.

He is hoping this romantic evocation to councillors will assist in his bid to secure a 3am late licence for his premises on Friday and Saturday.

For, without that extra hour, he says The Vibe, the nightspot he has run with his wife Margaret for the past 25 years, could be forced out of business.

Trading as I & M Enterprises, Mr and Mrs Hastings have applied to the board, which meets tomorrow, for the regular weekend extension.

Mr Hastings says the premises in The Square are losing out because more and more of his customers are choosing to sample the nightlife in Galashiels and Berwick.

“In this day and age, our current terminating hour of 2am is no longer considered late by clubbers and many Kelso people are travelling to Galashiels where they can dance till 3am,” writes Mr Hastings.

“There is also a growing number who travel to Berwick where they can dance till 4am and take advantage of the many irresponsible drink promotions permitted under English licensing legislation.

“A few years ago, a local police inspector commented how glad he was this club existed as he always knew where 300 people were at the end of the night.

“Today, he would be pushed to know where a third of that number are.

“If this exodus to other towns continues at the current rate, The Vibe will be unviable. We will lose our livelihood, Scottish Borders Council will lose income from business rates and Kelso will lose a much-loved institution and gain yet another block of flats.”

However, the bid to bring Kelso into line with two nightclubs in Galashiels is being opposed by the police.

“There are no exceptional circumstances to warrant this extension beyond 2am,” states a submission from Chief Inspector Andrew McLean.

“Furthermore, the premises have been the subject of noise complaints from neighbours in the past. The increase in hours would increase the availability of alcohol and therefore increase the likelihood of alcohol related violence and anti-social behaviour.”

Two neighbours have also objected to the extra hour, including Christine Vincent who runs a small bed and breakfast business nearby.

“It seems a shame we are trying to encourage people to come to this beautiful town while providing an entertainment which leaves visitors with the mistaken impression Kelso is a rough place, full of anti-social behaviour,” says Ms Vincent.