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Council / Extra hour for hop night at Brae Hall

THE BRAE Hall has been granted an hour’s extension to its licence for the Delting Up Helly Aa hop night in March.

The event had also been given the extension last year to allow for a “less frantic exodus” of revellers.

The latest extension – from 1am to 2am – was approved when it went up in from of the Shetland Islands area licensing board on Monday morning.

However, councillors warned against people assuming that an hour’s extension was the norm.

Lerwick South member Cecil Smith said the board needed to send out a “clear message” that each extension application would be considered on its own merits.

“We shouldn’t start to open the floodgates,” he warned.

Fellow town councillor Malcolm Bell also expressed worry that extensions to 2am – which have been given to some other hop nights – could start becoming 3am.

North mainland member Alastair Cooper, however, said that the Brae hop was an event of local significance before moving to approve the application.

“I think we have to recognise this is the last Up Helly Aa of the season and it’s quite a big event that covers a large area,” he said.

“I’m more about trying to ensure that the hall committee stays within the licensing rules and there’s no divergence from the rules.”