GLASGOW should embrace European "cafe culture" by changing licensing laws to allow continental-style outdoor dining and drinking, it was claimed today.
Councillor Graeme Hendry, SNP leader on Glasgow City Council, wants to amend licensing rules to allow alcohol to be consumed outside after 10pm — but only in appropriate areas.
Councillor Hendry, said: "Glasgow is a huge tourist attraction for visitors to Scotland.
"Our recent heatwave showed the city off in the best way possible.
"However, the current outdoor licensing regulations are stifling outdoor trade and reducing the options for those visiting Glasgow, as well as our citizens, looking to enjoy the Glasgow sunshine.
"The restrictions are too tight, and a relaxation at the end of the day would help create the right impression of Glasgow as a modern and cultured city while helping to increase business and strengthen the city economy.
"It's clear there needs to be change in the licensing of outdoor food and drink establishments, in a limited way that will benefit the economy but not at the expense of residents.
"Restrictions could be relaxed – subject to local conditions – in areas such as Royal Exchange Square, St Enoch Square and other parts where businesses exist and there is a demand for extended outdoor licences.
"There is a clear demand from business and tourists to make this happen – let's make a positive change to licensing regulations and move the city economy forward."
John McGlynn, a city centre based businessman, backed the call.
He said: "Glasgow is a city that plays on the European and international stage. To improve the economic well being of our city I feel we must fully embrace the European cafe culture that works so well across Europe.
"It is embarrassing when you bring investors to Glasgow for the first time and sit down for dinner at 9pm to be told you might want to take a seat indoors as the entire terrace must be clear by 10pm.
"In these difficult economic times the public purse is being pulled in all different directions so let us allow well- established experienced licensees invest in their businesses to the benefit of the residents, tourists and investors that come to Glasgow."
The city's standard policy on licensing hours for outdoor areas is that they end at 10pm.
But a licensing board spokesman said a change to the rules could be brought about if the matter was raised at the Local Licensing Forum.
The forum is made up of representatives of the licensed trade, the community, police, council, health and the city's marketing bureau.
The forum could then make a recommendation to the board.
The spokesman added: "The board fully understands outside drinking areas can be an attractive feature and add to the overall vibrancy of the city.
"But the board must strike a balance between the needs of residents and licence holders.
"The licensing objectives clearly state we must prevent public nuisance, so a 10pm cut-off for outside drinking is a sensible compromise.
"If there is a genuine demand to change the board's policy then the appropriate forum in which to raise this issue is the Local Licensing Forum."
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