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Glasgow board backs down on alcohol display space

22 June 2010

Glasgow Licensing Board has backed down on its policy of refusing to allow supermarkets to increase the floor space for alcohol sales.

Six food and supermarket chains had a total of 13 applications refused at last month's board meeting, in one case even though th display space would take up a smaller proportion of an expanded store. The board ruled that the applicants had failed t prove that their plans would promote public health, one of the five objectives set out in the Licensing (Scotland) Act 2005 which came into force last September.

At a further meeting yesterday, however, it was announced that the board would revisit the applications previously refused, rather than face a series of court appeals.

Chairman Stephen Dornan said the Scottish Government had failed to provide support for authorities seeking to base thir decisions on the health ground, as there was no consultation process in place comparable to that involving the police and licensing standards officers. A board acting on local knowledge alone would probably not be able to defend its decision in court, he added.

He called on the Government to address the issue urgently and give effective powers to boards.

A Scottish Government spokesman said it was open to boards to consult health professionals or the public in support of a policy of promoting public health.

Glasgow has gone further than other boards in applying the public health objective.

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