Banff and Buchan Area Committee this week awarded Tesco, Fraserburgh, a late hours catering licence, allowing the store to remain open from the hours of 11pm to 5am throughout December.
Councillors were told, in a report prepared for the proposal, that the decision was being placed in their hands following changes to the requirements for late hours catering licences and that “officers were not comfortable granting the hours sought for December in terms of their powers under the Council’s Scheme of Delegation. All such applications are therefore being referred to the relevant Area Committee for consideration.”
As a result, six similar applications for Tesco stores are being brought before area committees in Aberdeenshire.
Graham Walker, of Brown & McRae, spoke on behalf of Tesco’s solicitors at the meeting on Tuesday, taking questions from the Banff and Buchan councillors.
Mr Walker told councillors that the licence, if granted, would not see the supermarket opening the restaurant during these hours, or selling hot food.
Answering the if Tesco had the intention of requesting these hours on a permanent basis, Mr Walker said it was not.
“When I first heard of this application, I was obviously concerned for other catering outlets,” said Councillor Brian Topping, before adding that, on the revelation that Tesco would not be selling hot food: “I move that we approve it.”
Councillor John Cox seconded Councillor Topping’s motion.
Councillor Ian Tait opposed the motion, commenting on the recent thefts in Kirkton Cemetery and vandalism.
“There’s a real threat to residents in that area and to gravestones,” he said, adding that he would be looking to restrict the hours to 12am, citing his reason for refusing the full request under paragraph 3.3D of the prepared report: “Where there is other good reason for refusing the application.”
Councillor Tait’s suggestion failed to find a seconder, resulting in Tesco being awarded the late hours catering licence from the hours of 11pm to 5am throughout December.
The store will also have a late hours catering licence from January to November, from the hours of 11pm to 12am.
Historically, the supermarket had operated for 24 hours in the lead up to Christmas, the councillors were told.