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Council / Review being carried out into street trading licence conditions

Licensing committee also approved extra hour for Northmavine Up Helly Aa hop night

Lerwick Town Hall.
Lerwick Town Hall.

A REVIEW of Shetland Islands Council’s (SIC) regulations around street trading is being carried out after a knitwear producer was refused a licence earlier this year before successfully challenging the decision.

Last month Lerwick Sheriff Court ruled a decision by the council’s licensing committee in June to turn down an application for a street trading licence by knitwear producer Mary Macgregor was “unreasonable”.

Sheriff Ian Cruickshank referred the case back to the SIC for reconsideration of its decision, and on Monday the council’s licensing committee was given an update on the matter.

One of Sheriff Cruickshank’s points of contention was that the committee vowed to carry out a review of the specific council licensing policy which Macgregor’s application fell foul of, which he said was an irrelevant consideration.

Macgregor, who runs the Fair Isle knitwear company BAKKA, had applied to sell goods out of a van in peak periods in the centre of Lerwick, with Irvine Place her preferred location.

The licensing committee, however, turned down the application following a vote in view of a piece of policy formed in the 1990s which prohibits street traders from selling goods of the “same or similar class and description” as shops within 50 metres.

While rejecting the application, councillors called for an ‘early review’ of the policy over its seeming lack of clarity.

Members of the licensing committee heard on Monday that the review into the conditions is being carried out by the council’s environmental health service, with a report due to be presented to councillors early next year.

“That review will seek to assess and evaluate the licensing conditions to determine whether these are reasonable in terms of the mandatory regulation of street trading,” a report presented at Monday’s meeting said.

Councillors noted the report and sheriff’s judgement in the meantime.

The Shetland Islands area licensing board, meanwhile, approved an application on Monday to extend the licensing hours at the Northmavine Up Helly Aa hop night in February from 1am to 2am.

Members were told that they could consider extending normal licensing hours for special events or occasions of local or national significance.

North mainland councillor Alastair Cooper said: “It’s a well run event and it is a special event for Northmavine”.

Neil Doull of the Sullom Hall, where this year’s hop will be held, said the idea was to have the night “wind down naturally” and by keeping people in the hall for longer, discourage any carry outs onto buses and vans.

He said it was his view that soft drinks would be popular in the extra hour.

Lerwick member Malcolm Bell struck a note of caution, saying that after the board granted similar extensions for a previous north hop – as well as the Delting equivalent – there was a danger of setting a precedent for keeping venues open until 2am.

“I think the issue is…if we grant an hour, we grant an hour to sell alcohol – it is as simple as that,” he said.

“I just think it’s a dangerous precedent to set.”

Cooper’s motion to approve the extension, however, was passed after it was seconded by Lerwick member Cecil Smith.

The Scalloway Meat Company also had an application approved to extend its off-sale display areas in its shop in the village from 13 square metres to 16.1 square metres.