Murrayfield ordered to bid for booze licence before every gig

BOSSES at Murrayfield Stadium have been ordered to apply for an alcohol licence every time they want to hold a concert, following the trouble which marred this year's Oasis gig.

Scottish Rugby had applied for a licence that would cover all events that happen at the stadium, but the city's licensing board was not willing to give a green light for alcohol to be allowed at all concerts in light of the impact the Oasis event had on residents.

Instead, Scottish Rugby will have to apply for a "variation" licence every time it wants to hold a concert, with residents being able to object and each event dealt with on a case-by-case basis.

It comes after fighting in the stadium at the Oasis gig in June, while those living in and around Murrayfield complained of fighting, vandalism and people urinating in their gardens.

Councillor Marjorie Thomas, convener of the council's licensing board, said: "We have agreed to license the whole stadium but have given a bit more reassurance to residents that, if Murrayfield is to hold concerts – which we do not have a problem with – they have to apply for a variation licence. It means local people will be able to know what is coming and object if they wish to.

"We are well aware of the economic merits of concerts and other events at Murrayfield and the last thing we want to do is make that more difficult. But we have got to balance that with the views of residents."

During the licensing meeting, an agent for Scottish Rugby had said that having doubts remain over whether a licence would be granted could lead to concert promoters looking elsewhere.

Mark Laidlaw, stadium manager for Scottish Rugby, said that he would not let the ruling detract from the types of events that were brought to Murrayfield.

When asked if he would ever consider booking Oasis again, he said: "It would be wrong to single out Oasis. They came in for a lot of criticism because of antisocial behaviour outside the stadium in the streets.

"Every city in the UK has hosted Oasis. Edinburgh did it and did it well. There were isolated incidents that nobody wants to see but we will look at the way we plan for an event like that in the future."

He said that the aim of the event had been to encourage fans into the stadium early, where there were toilet facilities and drinking could be controlled, and insisted that even greater emphasis would be placed on getting people into the stadium earlier in the future.

Councillor Jeremy Balfour, Tory councillor for the Corstorphine/Murrayfield ward, said: "I am satisfied with the decision. My main concern was that, if we hadn't taken concerts out of the document (proposal], there would be no way that the public could object to concerts in the future. That has now been resolved.

"This will give residents confidence that the events that are allowed will not have the impact on antisocial behaviour we saw (at Oasis]."