Scott Preston writes from Tagon Stores, Voe, on Shetland: “I received a letter this morning from the Shetland Islands Area Licensing Board’s Deputy Clerk, who has very kindly reviewed the legislation that applies to the fees charged annually for a premises licence up here.”
Unfortunately for Scott, she found that under the Licensing (Fees) (Scotland) 2007 regulations, his shop is not a visitor attraction and her advice to the board will be to change the designation of it.
“Resulting in (can you guess?),” he asks. “An increased fee of £220 (up from £180).”
He further asks: “It’s only £40 so what am I getting my knickers in a twist for? Well, that £40 represents 10 additional bottles of Smirnoff vodka I’ll need to sell in to make the profit to cover the increase (which no doubt they’ll try to backdate), oh and the price of Smirnoff has just gone up, too!
“My argument is that part of the fun of going on holiday to a remote location is to visit the local shops as well as archaeological sites and sports facilities so you can see what the local shop is selling outside of the ‘norm’. We also offer a book exchange and tea/coffee (although no seating areas as yet).
“Can you class us as an attraction? Well, with staff like mine I can’t see how you couldn’t - I’d pay to see them anyway!”
He asks whether my little black book contains a licensing specialist in Scotland who might be willing to give a line or two of advice.
Well, I tried, somewhat unsuccessfully. The specialist I did know isn’t responding on LinkedIn (the only way I can find him). I also emailed QEvents2 in Aberdeen as they get very involved in pubs and licensing matters. But Debbie Moir, an organiser, replied: “I doubt that the shop would be classed as a visitor attraction; this would be like castles/distilleries, that kind of thing, probably with a VisitScotland visitor attraction grading.”
She suggests that Scott checks with another local shop that sells alcohol on Shetland and see what they are being charged.
Scott concludes: “I have submitted a Freedom of Information request to find just how many premises owned by the council are in category 1 (the visitor attraction).”
How about you? Do any of you qualify for that brown road sign?