Base nightclub has been granted 3am extensions for this Saturday and the Common-Riding, despite opposition from local Councillor Davie Paterson.
Six out of eight members of Scottish Borders Council’s Licensing Board gave proprietor Neil Gillies the thumbs-up last Friday, after he applied to stay open an hour later during what are some of the busiest nights of the year.
However, with the decision coming only weeks after Mr Gillies’ bid for a permanent 3am licence following a trial period was blocked by a 3-2 vote – when only half of the ten board members turned up – he says it is a bitter-sweet decision. “I’m having to spend so much time, money and effort to fight to provide something here in Hawick which competitors in Galashiels are handed on a plate,” he told the Hawick News.
Mr Gillies told the board that the Common-Riding was his “exceptional circumstance” – a lack of which was part of the previous vetoe – as Base is the only late-night operator wishing to be part of the celebrations and provide a facility for the community. He explained: “I also mentioned the fact Hawick is trying to attract more visitors, weekend trippers, tourists and the like and as such, felt there would be a demand from them, too. And I quoted Rough Guides (2007) ‘World Parties’ where they put the Common-Riding at number ten on their list.”
But Mr Gillies claims his local councillor, Mr Paterson, told him he wasn’t prepared to sit and listen to a lecture about the Common-Riding, while adding that no-one had complained to him about the nightclub hours being cut back to 2am.
Mr Paterson, who voted against Base’s late-night bid in Febuary, and along with only one other board member continued his opposition to the application on Friday, refused to comment on his decision when contacted by the Hawick News yesterday.
But Mr Gillies added: “After my presentation, Davie Paterson openly voiced the fact he was voting against it before any questions were even put to me, and there were many, and therefore before any ‘rational councillor’ could deliberate on any evidence forthcoming.
“So much for Hawick councillors supporting local businesses.”