Planning a refit has hit home to Linda the constraints legislation places on running the business


As we are in the throes of finalising our plans for a refit in the next couple of months, it has occurred to me just how much we are constrained nowadays in what we can or cannot do.

Today we have to plan with current and even future legislation in mind, and it can be a huge constraint on finances and future planning.

Over the past few years we’ve had to work around: Scottish licensing legislation, obliging us to seek planning permission for the size and site of our alcohol fixture, any changes only allowable by re-applying to the local authority; tobacco going dark, rendering cigarette gantries obsolete, which we replaced with drawers under the counter; and Minimum Unit Pricing which meant we radically changed our alcohol range, notably strong ciders.

We have new challenges ahead, too, which we have to take into consideration, most notably the Deposit Return Scheme. We cannot countenance taking back bottles and cans over the counter due to space and volume issues so are having to leave a space for a future reverse vending machine.

And it is looking increasingly likely that the Scottish government will go ahead with restrictions on high fat and sugar foods, in particular a ban on confectionery multibuys and a ban on siting confectionery at the counter, so we are having to look at where we site confectionery to maintain sales, and what to put in its place.

It doesn’t leave us with a lot of freedom in what is ultimately our own business, and it is yet another aspect of the mountain of obstacles we have to surmount before we even open the door.