Aberdeen City Council’s Special Licensing Committee met for the first time in five years to consider whether or not to object to a renewal application for the Draft Project, a licensed marquee located on Langstane Place. The Special Licensing Objections Committee is the body which determines whether or not the council should object to alcohol licenses which are then determined by the Licensing Board. The committee meets infrequently and only lodges objections in exceptional cases.
The meeting was called as a result of public concerns raised over the complete lack of social distancing, lack of face coverings, shouting and singing which took place recently, much of which has been circulating on social media.
Lib Dem councillor Steve Delaney proposed that the council object to the renewal on the basis of public health, public safety and public nuisance.
He said, “Licensed premises are well versed in managing their venues during events, so they should have been better prepared. We’re right in the middle of a pandemic and the event at Draft Project put their staff, their customers and indeed the general public at increased risk”.
“What we don’t need is another local lockdown and the harm that creates to local people, especially those who are housebound, disabled or living alone. Such actions also reflect poorly on the hospitality sector, risking jobs and livelihoods in so many other venues where they are working hard to keep their customers and staff safe”.
“The Draft Project is run by Soul, one of the premises linked to the August covid spike which led to the three week local lockdown. That was another incident where there was no social distancing and few, if any, face coverings being worn both inside and outside the premises”.
“During a pandemic everyone needs to take responsibility and we all need to work together to keep our citizens safe. And this is a time when this council needs to show leadership and do right by its citizens”.
“Any premises which demonstrate complete lack of adherence to strict covid regulations would appear to be putting profit before people and putting lives at risk. Not only the lives of customers and staff but also their families and friends and indeed the wider population”.
Councillor Ryan Houghton, supported by his two Conservative colleagues moved that Aberdeen City Council should not object to the renewal of the license. He won the vote by 3 votes to 2 with Councillors Delaney and Copeland entering their dissent at the decision.
Later in the day the Licensing Board met to consider the renewal application. They have decided to hold a Public Hearing at a future date to determine whether or not to renew the license. This hearing will give those who have objected an opportunity to have their say. The “occasional licence” for Draft Project expires today and they will not be permitted to re-open prior to the hearing being held.