STEPS are being made to allow pubs in Queensferry the opportunity to open early on New Year’s Day.
Local publicans have put forward a request to Almond councillor Norman Work, who sits on the city council’s licensing board, to give them special dispensation to open at 9am instead of the regular 12.30pm on Sundays.
The earlier opening hours request is to accommodate the huge influx of people expected to arrive in the town that day for the annual Loony Dook. The New Year’s Day dip is scheduled to take place at 11am instead of the normal midday entry due to tidal conditions.
And with the event’s registration having been brought forward to 9am, publicans see it is as an ideal opportunity to extend a true Scottish welcome to the hundreds of tourists who flock to the town for the spectacle.
Councillor Work, who has taken part in the Loony Dook in recent years, has now put forward the request to the licensing board calling for them to look kindly towards the extended hours application.
He said: “Everyone is aware of the importance the ‘Loony Dook’ has within not just Queensferry but now as part of the official Edinburgh Hogmanay celebrations. Publicans have asked me to support them applying for early openings on this Sunday and I have said I would support this due to the unique circumstances.
‘‘The amount of times this event will ever fall on a Sunday and the way the tides work out, I don’t think this request will be repeated very often.”
Councillor Work added: “This event is world famous, part of the official Edinburgh’s Hogmanay celebrations, and with thousands of visitors coming to Queensferry I hope that these applications can be allowed which in turn will give a big boost to the local economy.”
Arne Fredrikson, publican at The Moorings in Queensferry welcomed Councillor Work’s intervention this week saying: “With the Loony Dook being staged we are set to open for breakfasts on January 1 but do not have a licence to sell alcohol.
‘‘If Councillor Work can get the city council to allow an extension of hours to sell alcohol too that would be great for all the local pubs that wish to open.”
Edinburgh’s Lord Provost and fellow Almond councillor George Grubb, who has also taken part in the Loony Dook, has also given his support to this application.