Aberdeenshire Council agrees to create single region-wide licensing board

Aberdeenshire Council has formally agreed to reduce its three divisional licensing boards to one single body.

Councillors voted overwhelmingly in favour of the recommendations which will allow the authority to formally dissolve the current structure and establish a new single licensing board for the region.

It follows a recent public consultation on the structure involving more than 600 Aberdeenshire licence holders together with comments from the three existing boards.

Many of those who responded felt there were clear benefits in establishing a single board in terms of efficiencies, resources and sustainability.

Some concern was expressed that local knowledge might be diluted by the creation of a Shire-wide board.

Councillors agreed that the new single board will feature the statutory maximum of ten elected members who will be drawn from the 24 currently sitting on the three boards to ensure local knowledge is retained. The new board membership will be announced at the next full council on April 18.

The new board’s first meeting will be hosted in Woodhill House on Wednesday, April 29 when a calendar of meetings will be drawn up and future venues agreed. 

Council Leader Cllr Jim Gifford said: “There’s clearly a range of views across both the licensing trade and the elected members, but there is a clear majority for the move to a single licensing board for the whole of Aberdeenshire.”

Depute Leader Cllr Peter Argyle, who has served on the south licensing board for some 20 years, said: “The way that the whole licensing system is delivered has changed out of all recognition. 

“It’s much more efficient, much more effective and as a service it has a very good reputation across the piece and it’s working well in Aberdeenshire.”

The three licensing boards were established in 2007 to oversee the council’s obligations under the Licensing (Scotland) Act 2005 in relation to alcohol licensing and the Gambling Act 2005. 

The three boards - North, Central and South - followed the areas of the old district council

Boundaries, with Aberdeenshire being one of only three local authorities in Scotland which had more than one divisional licensing board.