An Inverness nightclub owner has spoken out over the decision to close his city centre premises – costing around 20 jobs – claiming the change in pub times is hitting clubs.
Club Tropicana owner Tony Cochrane claims the removal of the differential times in which pubs and clubs close is the reason he has taken the “tough decision” to shut.
The nightclub, on Baron Taylor Street in the city, is closing its doors with around 20 members of staff at the premise being made redundant as a result.
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Posted by Club Tropicana Inverness on Friday, 28 December 2018
The move comes after nightclub G’s in the city centre closed its doors a year ago.
Owner Tony Cochrane said: “We are the last purpose-built nightclub in Inverness but we now have no choice but to close.
“It is impossible for us to compete with pubs. They have completely eroded the differential. This is 100% down to the change in policy.
“Effectively bars will lose out in the long run. People are used to using bars as feeders before going to clubs but that has now gone. Without the lure of a nightclub, many people will jump on trains or head away for the weekend.
“This is destroying Inverness.”
The nightclub on Inverness High Street attracts hundreds of revellers each weekend through offering nostalgic hits from Madonna, Whitney, Duran Duran and Erasure amongst others, but its doors will now remain closed following the decision.
Mr Cochrane added: “They had to go to the licensing board the last meeting to say ‘please give us this differential’.
“There are some places that will put on music but you don’t get dressed up and excited to just go to the pub.
“The introduction of a similar policy has hampered cities in England where nightclubs have had to close. Glasgow introduced the opposite by allowing a three-hour differential in December and we feel the same should have been done here.
“We have gone to the licensing board and told them the policy simply does not work but our plea fell on deaf ears. We have tried everything.
“There is now no strategy in the number of people coming out of establishments which is putting extra pressure on services from policing to transport.
“Let’s say you have a big concert, it will draw people in and all of the bars and pubs will gain big time.
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“It’s the same with nightclubs. People come to them for a night in the town, they fill the bars then they go to the clubs.
“But if you lose that, then all the bars and the town as a whole will suffer.
“I agree it will be the exact same situation in Aberdeen.”
A Highland Council spokeswoman said: “The premises in question applied for a major variation to their premises licence to increase their termination hour on Friday and Saturday to 4am rather than 3am which was determined by the Highland Licensing Board on 2 October 2018.
“The Board refused the application on the grounds that the application would be inconsistent with the licensing objectives of preventing crime and disorder, securing public safety and preventing public nuisance.
“Members did not consider that there was any compelling reason for granting the extra hour sought, as departure from the Board’s policy on hours at late opening premises.”