An Angus nightclub has been granted later festive hours after a hotly-disputed licensing application.
The Royal Nightclub in Forfar reopened this year after a five-year hiatus and has enjoyed a resurgence in popularity under new owner Donald Stewart.
The owner applied to Angus Council’s licensing board for later night-time opening hours on December 24 and 31.
Mr Stewart, who also operates Bar Central and the Old Mason’s Arms in the town, took to social media to say the nightclub would not open on Christmas Eve or Hogmanay, following confusion over the application.
He said this was despite going to the board “on our knees” for an hour’s extension.
In a Facebook status for the Royal Hotel that was shared and liked several hundred times, Mr Stewart commented that the decision “stuck two fingers up to the partygoers of Forfar”.
However, the council commented that no decision had been made on the application at that time, and has since been approved, albeit with an earlier closing time of 1am.
A council spokesman said last night: “The application made was outwith board policy and, therefore, could not be determined by the clerk under delegated authority.
“Where an application has been received which is outwith board policy and when the event or special occasion is before the date of the next board, the board has delegated powers to the convener and vice-convener of the board, together with the local members, to determine extended hours applications for special events or occasions.
“This application was duly placed before the convener and vice-convener of the board together with the local member, who determined to grant the application subject to a restriction on the grant of the application that the premises can only open until 1am on Christmas and New Year’s Eve.”
The nightclub already has provision in its operating plan for an additional hour at the end of trading normally 11pm through the week on Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, Hogmanay and New Year’s Day.
Local licensing laws were previously criticised as “outdated” when it was claimed that Angus clubs have the smallest window of opportunity to make money after nearby pubs close.