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Business / Brewery given on sales licence

LERWICK Brewery has been given an on sales alcohol licence for its base on the outskirts of the town as it expands to offer tours and space for social functions.

Members of Shetland’s licensing board agreed on Monday to give the business an on sales licence from 11am to 1am seven days a week on top of its existing off sales permit.

The brewery, located at the top of Ladies Drive near to the Staney Hill quarry, has already undertaken work to allow tours to be held, which includes beer tasting, and cruise ship passengers are a target market.

It also wants to provide facilities for social functions, with an emphasis on hiring out the venue space in the winter.

Members of Lerwick Community Council discussed the application earlier this month and concerns were raised over the safety of the road to the brewery for walkers.

These worries were raised again at the licensing board as councillor Stephen Leask said people leaving the building at 1am could be in danger.

“At one o’ clock in the morning, walking down that road…it’s not a good access road for walking, and it’s quite dangerous,” he said.

Councillor George Smith also said he was “struggling to understand what the priority is, a visitor centre or a venue?” – but he believed there was no real reason the application should be turned down.

The application was then granted, with chairman Ian Scott saying he believed a visitor centre was a “good venture”.

An application to extend the licensed hours at the second night of wedding at the Tingwall Hall this summer, meanwhile, was also granted.

The applicant wanted to extend the opening hours for a Saturday night in June from 1am to 2am.

George Smith warned that the board recently approving two applications to extend Up Helly Aa hop hours in Brae and Hillswick from 1am to 2am for further drinking-up time perhaps set a precedent.

“I said at the time that it might come back,” he said.

“Is this any less significant for the couple than the Up Helly Aas that we granted licenses to in order to disperse the hall?”

Assistant clerk to the board Paul Wishart noted that as the application had an end hour of 2am, it fell outwith the licensing policy the board uses to guide decision-making.

“It’s unfortunately just a judgement call,” he said, adding that each application should be considered on its own merits.

Westside councillor Catherine Hughson backed granting the application.

“I wouldn’t want to not agree to this licence, because it is an important family affair and I would be disappointed if we decided we could not offer this licence,” she remarked.

Lerwick councillor Stephen Leask though suggested the board should refuse the application as there was a lack of context and detail provided by the applicant.

No-one seconded him, however, and the application was ultimately granted.