Conference plea club owner airs trade fears

NIGHTCLUB owner Neil Gillies has described Hawick’s licensed trade as being “on its knees”.

The Base proprietor’s damning verdict on the industry comes in response to plans for an alcohol and licensing conference – and the Baker Street club owner is urging all fellow business owners to attend the event in a bid to improve the situation. He stated: “Just a few years ago Hawick was an exciting,
busy town with a vibrant social scene. Today, in contrast, the pubs, clubs and hospitality trade
generally is absolutely on its knees.”

Mr Gillies blames the availability of cheap alcohol as well as increasing overheads, but says Hawick licencees should seize the chance to influence the powers-that-be.

“Antiquated systems such as the rates, changes in social habits and a decreasing population have all been contributing factors to the continual erosion of our businesses,” he explained.

“That’s why I urge any personal licence holders from local pubs, hotels, restaurants or private members’ clubs to sign up and support this conference, and to take the opportunity to raise the issues most concerning to them and to make those feelings known.”

Licencees from throughout the region are invited to attend the free event at the Volunteer Hall in Galashiels, on November 12, to have their say and hear keynote speakers.

Michelle Ballantyne, chair of the local licensing forum, commented: “It will provide a platform for what we hope will be a lively and informed debate around the challenges that face the Borders.”

Mr Gillies added: “By joining myself and many others we can spell out our concerns directly to the authorities – to the decision-makers. I believe it’s only if we act en-masse that we are likely to be listened to and taken seriously. By standing together as a trade we can become involved in affecting any future policy-making.”

Anyone interested in attending should visit www.scotborders.gov.uk.local/licensingforum