Late-night entertainment venues opening until 4am could be trialled under new proposals from Glasgow Licensing Board that are now open for public consultation.
The proposal for 4am closing for nightclubs and other late night premises is contained within the Board's new draft policy statement which sets out a wider package of potential reforms that seeks to encourage greater social responsibility from the licensed trade.
With the night-time economy generating £2.16bn and also supporting 16,600 jobs in Glasgow, the Board is keen to play its part in ensuring the city centre remains vibrant and attractive for residents, visitors and businesses alike.
If confirmed in the final policy statement due to be published later this year, the proposal would allow the Board to consider 4am closing time for clubs and other venues if the licence holder can demonstrate a positive contribution to the night-time economy, but also excellent standards in managing licensed premises.
Factors the Board could take into account include investment in safety and security, securing gold status or above through the Best Bar None scheme, commitment to staff training and social responsibility, including the promotion of good employment practices and reducing reliance on single use plastic. Under the proposal, any licence holder that secures 4am closing would have the operation of their venue reviewed after 12 months, but it is also intended to have a wider study on the impact on the city centre of venues remaining opening until 4am.
Chair of the Board, Councillor Matt Kerr, said the proposal for opening until 4am had emerged strongly from the wide-ranging discussions that had taken place during the preparation of the draft policy statement.
Councillor Kerr said: "We listened very carefully to the submissions we received about the importance of the night-time economy to the city centre. There's also a strong view that a more European approach would avoid the rush to consume alcohol before closing time that then spills out on to our city centre streets.
"We want to support the licensed trade as much as we can while also ensuring we still provide the safeguards expected of us by the licensing legislation. By potentially granting licences until 4am while demanding the highest possible standards from licence holders we are striking the right balance between the licence trade and the needs of the wider community.
"It's very important to stress that this is still a proposal and that in any event, 4am closing would still be the subject a pilot programme that will draw in evidence from the likes of the police and the health service. We want feedback from as many people as possible on this proposal and others in the draft policy statement before reaching a final position. It's essential our policies are shaped by Glasgow as a whole."
The licensing board is expected to renew its policy statement on regular basis. The statement sets out how licence holders and applicants can expect the licensing board will deal with issues that come forward for consideration, subject to each case being looked at on its own merits.
Other proposals in the latest draft statement include:
The creation of DJ conditions that would allow venues to apply for extended hours so long as they satisfy technical criteria intended to support DJs to perform to the best of their ability.
Offering venues with Best Bar None gold status the opportunity to apply for extended hours on ten additional occasions each year.
A commitment to reducing the prevalence of single-use plastic.
Allowing 16 and 17-year-olds to remain on licensed premises until 11pm while the terminal hour for children under 16-year-olds would remain at 9pm. This would allow greater scope for young people to enjoy licensed premises such as restaurants, subject to the usual Challenge 25 controls.
Creating a proper framework to regulate the delivery of alcohol, which has grown as part of the trend towards food deliveries.
Encouraging more licensed premises to deliver awareness training to their staff on child sexual exploitation.
Promoting the 'Agent of Change' concept so that the responsibility for addressing the impact on communities through changes to the local licensed trade is managed by licence holders themselves.
Encouraging the use of the 'Ask for Angela' scheme which allows vulnerable customers to seek a safe place with the assistance from premise's staff..
Alcohol-related harm data to be used to scrutinise applications for off-sales licences in areas of high alcohol-related harm that are outside the city's overprovision areas.
Councillor Kerr added: "We want to see best practice delivered as a matter of course by the city's licensed trade. All of the proposals in the policy statement are intended to incentivise the highest possible standards from the city's pubs, clubs and restaurants. I hope people respond to the consultation to help inform our final policy statement."
Full details of the draft policy statement can be found on the council's Consultation Hub , where you can also respond to the policy statement.