The event was held at County Buildings in Ayr
People in South Ayrshire are set to have their say on the future direction of alcohol sales in the area as South Ayrshire Licensing Board progresses a review of its Licensing Policy.
The commitment to involve the public was made at a pre-consultation event for key stakeholders at County Buildings where a number of topics were discussed including the possible over-provision of off-sales premises, access to licensed premises for young people, and the types of event that should be allowed extended hours.
The Licensing Board is currently reviewing its guiding principles to better reflect local priorities and will soon launch a public consultation to help finalise its next five year plan. Feedback from the pre-consultation event – attended by the licensed trade, police, public health, environmental health, and community groups – will help inform the consultation.
80% of all alcohol sold in Scotland is sold through off-sales in supermarkets and convenience stores, with only 20% sold through pubs, clubs and restaurants. Discussions with stakeholders considered whether there may be too many off-sales premises in South Ayrshire, as well as the need for a change in the culture of how people drink, rather than restricting the number of premises which sell alcohol.
Other areas looked at were making licensed premises as family friendly as possible, the potential to review noise restriction levels for late night opening, better design to cancel out noise pollution for new premises, and the issue of venues which routinely apply for occasional licences rather than applying for a permanent licence.
Chair of South Ayrshire Licensing Board, Councillor Craig Mackay, said he was pleased with the response so far: "We're committed to carrying out meaningful public consultations to ensure that our policies across the board are truly representative of our communities.
"The recent event is a good example of partnership working, with broad agreement reached on a range of issues, while areas were also highlighted where we'll have to carefully consider how to shape the way we work in future.
"But this is just the start of the process and we'll be carrying out a formal consultation later this year where we'll throw open the debate to help identify local priorities to govern the sale of alcohol in public places."
A more detailed, formal consultation process will begin in late spring 2018, with a view to a reviewed policy being in place by the end of the year.