Base nightclub owner Neil Gillies says he feels demoralised by the ruling that his premises must return to a 2am licence.
Only half of the ten members of the licensing board panel turned up to what Mr Gillies said was a “very disappointing” meeting last Friday, when the fate of the Baker Street club’s bid to sell alcohol until 3am at weekends was decided.
And after considering complaints from Eildon Housing, which owns Teviot Court, the sheltered housing complex adjacent to Mr Gillies’ establishement, and nine local residents – which were only lodged the previous week despite the club operating on a temporary late licence for the past eight months – Mr Gillies’ application was turned down following a 3-2 vote.
He told the Hawick News: “I am obviously very disappointed by the whole process. We haven’t been given a reason for the refusal other than that we can’t prove that there are exceptional circumstances.”
Mr Gillies says attempts to meet with local residents to alleviate any concerns were ignored, and he claims he was never approached by councillors with complaints.
Further outlining his disallusionment, he highlights the existence of two Galashiels town-centre clubs open until 3am, stating: “I could accept it if it was a level playing field, but it’s not. The only reason they can give for that is that it’s because Galashiels is a university town.”
One of those members who voted against the application was Councillor Davie Paterson, whose ward includes the Base club, but he refused to comment this week.
Mr Gillies also faced opposition from the police who objected to the 3am licence being formalised, reporting that there had been 60 antisocial behaviour incidents in the eight months to January 31, 2015, compared to 57 in the corresponding period of 2013/2014.
This is despite the club having won the Gold ‘Best Bar None’ safety award from police in both 2013 and 2014.
Mr Gillies added: “This decision will have a massive impact on my business. Base will keep going for now as it is, but there is no incentive for me now. I have been driven by my customers, but the youth of this town are being discriminated against and there is little here for them. The community is diminishing. And if Base goes, there’s nothing for them.”