The late night opening hours of many venues in St Andrews are under threat following a decision by the Fife Licensing board to reject an application for an extended licence at Rascals bar.
Rascals is currently open until 12am from Sunday until Wednesday and until 1am on a Thursday, Friday and Saturday night. They had hoped to extend their licence to allow them to remain open until 1am every day. Their application was denied by the board over worries that noise from bars in St Andrews is affecting tourism.
A statement made by Fife Constabulary to the licensing board has sparked concerns that other venues in the area are operating outwith the policy. The policy recommends that bars and clubs should only be open until 12am from Sunday until Thursday and until 1am on Friday and Saturday nights.
Dougie Saunders, Fife Constabulary’s head of licensing, explained: ”The current policy appears to be adhered to in most premises in central and west Fife. However, in north east Fife there are a number of premises operating outwith the policy.”
The board are particularly concerned about the effect noise and other issues associated with pubs and clubs will have on the many Bed & Breakfasts and hotels situated in the area surrounding Rascals, The Lizard and the Union.
”The board may wish to consider the impact on St Andrews tourism if permanent hours continue to be granted outwith the policy.
”It’s near bed and breakfast and guest house accommodation and owners say residents regularly complain about noise impact. They say overseas guests complain about noise from late-night premises in the town centre.”
Many hotel and Bed & Breakfast owners in the town have echoed the concerns about the level of noise and the impact it has on tourists.
Hazel Krane, owner of Burness House, said: “I am wakened every night. The noise is terrible. I have lots of complaints from my guests. I feel the publican should be responsible for moving them on after. I am very concerned about my business. We are only a small business and need returning guests.”
Paul Wilson, owner of Six Murray Park, agreed. “As a guest house owner, we suffer regular complaints from guests staying in our accommodation about the noise in the street. Most guests know St Andrews is a student town and expect some noise, however they do not expect this to go on in the early hours,” he said.
Fife council have confirmed that although licences are considered on an individual basis and some are granted outwith the recommendations of the Licensing policy (2007), the policy is currently under review by the board in consultation with the Fife Licensing forum and other agencies. The new policy will come into effect in November 2013. This decision could have a major impact on the night life of St Andrews. The Union, for example, is open until 2am on Thursday, Friday and Saturday and other venues, like The Lizard, are open until 2am every night.
Second year maths student Jack McMillian expressed disappointment at the news of a review on licensing hours. He said: “The night life in St Andrews is not of the same standard as other university towns. If licensing hours were cut, prospective students may be put off applying to St Andrews because they wouldn’t get the same student experience as they would elsewhere.”