Wedding planners warned bars at midweek events will shut down early

Requests for extended drinking hours have been made to licensing boards.

East Lothian wedding planners warned bars at midweek events will shut down early iStock

Wedding planners have been warned to expect to close bars early at midweek events in East Lothian after licensing chiefs raised concerns about a growing number of events looking for longer drinking hours.

Two wedding venues were refused permission to serve drinks until midnight at upcoming parties planned on days when the county’s licensing policy sets last calls by 11pm.

A meeting of East Lothian Licensing Board today heard concerns from members at a rise in midweek weddings and occasional licence applications which requested extended drinking hours.

The board heard an application from Dunglass Estate, near Cockburnspath, for six occasional licences for weddings over the next two months at the venue allowing alcohol to be served between 2pm and midnight.

But while five of the weddings were on Saturdays when board policy allow drink to be served up to midnight, one in April was for a Wednesday.

East Lothian Licensing Board’s on sales trading hours are 11am to 11pm Monday to Wednesday, 11am to 1am Thursday to Saturday and 11am to midnight on Sundays.

Councillor Neil Gilbert, moved that the event on Wednesday have its hours amended to an 11pm closing time telling fellow board members: “I can see no reason for the wedding to go on until midnight on a Wednesday.”

He was backed by fellow board member Councillor George McGuire who said: “We are seeing a large number of midweek wedding applications coming in but the board policy was put in place for a reason.

“We would be setting a precedent and would see a more more follow if we approve this.”

The board unanimously approved the licences with the restricted 11pm time for the midweek wedding.

They then faced an application for 35 occasional licences for weddings at Broxmouth Courtyard in Dunbar – eight of which, the board was told, went on beyond the council’s early week day cut off times.

Applicant Paul Mitchell told the board that the premises had been allowed to hold weddings during the week with a midnight licence in previous years and urged them not to impose the restriction on the venue for midweek celebrations.

However Councillor McGuire said the board had to stick to its policy adding: “We have refused an application from Dunglass and I see no reason the change that.”

The Broxmouth events were also restricted to the hours set out in the board’s policy.

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