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Business / Scalloway cafe gets green light to serve alcohol in outdoor seating area

The Cornerstone in Scalloway. Photo: Shetland News

A SCALLOWAY cafe and bar has successfully applied to change its alcohol licence to allow drinking in its outdoor seating area – but some concern was raised over the proximity to the road.

The permitted hours for the outdoor area at the Cornerstone will be 11am to 9pm Monday to Sunday.

The application said it is “intended to make the area a pleasant place for social gathering with least possible infringement on neighbours”.

The Cornerstone, which also has guest rooms, was previously given a temporary licence during the Covid pandemic for the same thing when restrictions loosened to allow outdoor hospitality.

But the application which went in front of councillors on Shetland’s licensing board on Monday was for a permanent variation of the premises’ licence.

The application added that there “could be recorded or live music” such as fiddle or accordian.

Lerwick North and Bressay councillor Stephen Leask successfully proposed that the licence variation be approved, but with advice given to the applicant to consider installing some form of barrier between the seating area and pavement.

This was because of concerns over public safety due to the proximity to the road.

Some councillors, however, highlighted that there is a low wall and flower boxes already in the area.

Police chief inspector Stuart Clemenson said while outdoor drinking spaces naturally incur some form of public nuisance – even just from people speaking more loudly – he had no concerns over the application.

“Yes, it may cause a few problems for locals but that’s something for Police Scotland to come along and enforce at a later date,” he said.

Clemenson said he had little concern because outdoor drinking areas are well established, highlighting there has been a move towards more European-style drinking across the country.

He also noted that outdoor drinking areas tend to only be used when the weather is fine, which is of particular interest for a place like Shetland.

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Shetland North councillor Tom Morton brought up Clemenson’s mention of European drinking – saying it could be a case of “Scalloway-sur-Mer”.

But he raised a worry that an outdoor drinking area could become a smoking space, potentially causing more litter.

Shetland Central member Catherine Hughson had proposed to grant the variation as requested, saying applicant Terry McCaffery was a responsible owner who kept a “very tidy establishment”.

Following some discussion among members Hughson was happy to rescind her motion to allow Leask to move his, after receiving clarification that barriers would advisory only and not a formal requirement.

The variation application stated that the capacity would be a maximum of 20 people and that all drinks and food are to be consumed “only when sitting and within the designated area”.

Meanwhile the Auld Manse cafe and B&B in Whalsay has been given a licence to sell alcohol.

It is for both off and on sales, with the applicant writing to the licensing board saying that the off sales requirement was to allow guests to buy alcohol to consume in other parts the building such as in their room.

The clarification came after NHS Shetland had suggested in a response to the application that the rationale for off sales was unclear.

The core on sales times were listed as 11am to 1am, Monday to Friday – with off sales Monday to Sunday 10am to 10pm.

Councillors were happy to approve the application, with board chairman Neil Pearson saying Whalsay had been “crying out” for a premises like the Auld Manse.

Shetland Reel was also given an occasional licence to sell alcohol from a stall at Albert Wharf in Lerwick during the Tall Ships.

The gin producer’s off sale licence hours are for 10am to 10pm from Wednesday 26 July to Saturday 29 July.

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