There has been a mixed reaction to claims that granting of 4.00 a.m. licence to a Kirkcaldy nightclub will help to boost the town’s night-time economy.
Fife Council’s licensing board agree the Saturday application last week for a six-month trial period - and they did it to encourage clubbers to stay local rather than head across the Forth to Edinburgh or west to Dunfermline.
But the move - a first for Fife - has not been welcomed by everyone. Some claimed it will not only disturb neighbouring residents with noise for a longer period, but it will also lead to more anti-social behaviour.
Concerns were also raised after the removal of two late night conditions namely the curfew - which saw revellers refused entry after 1.15 a.m. - and lifting the minimum entry charge which will allow the club’s management to decide whether folk get in free or what they should pay.
Kirkcaldy West Community Council contested the application, with David Henderson, chairman, adding: “This proposal is a step too far.
‘‘The late night conditions were originally put in place by the board to mitigate the impact of the late hours on the neighbouring community - to remove them is unacceptable.
“We regard the existing 3.00 a.m. licence as more than generous in finding a balance between the so called needs of the trade and the interests of the residents. Noise is the most significant factor.”
Andrew Hill, secretary of Fife Taxi Owners Association, said: “Opening to 4.00 a.m. on a Saturday is, in my opinion, crazy.
“It will not boost the night time economy. What has happened over the last number of years is that the later the licensing deadline moves to the later people come out.
“The 4.00 a.m. finish time is likely to result in additional drunken behaviour causing police extra concerns as well as the detrimental effect this could have on the residential are.”
But Tom Adams, board member, said: “By granting a licence more people will choose to stay in Kirkcaldy instead of going to Edinburgh where clubs are open later. There was also no police objection.”
Bob Young, chairman of the board, added the matter will be considered in six months.
“The applicant intends to start using the licence from January. The first two months of next year will likely be quieter so it will run until the spring. If there are any problems or complaints they will be reported to us.”
Facing the challenges
Leigh Snowdon, manager at Society bar and restaurant, said they are doing well at weekends but admits there are challenges: “If you are working in the hospitality industry you never take your foot off the gas. People don’t have that expendable income anymore so while they still want to go out, they are going out later as it’s cheaper to drink at home first.”