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Whitebridge Hotel food market falls foul of licensing mix-up

By Alasdair Fraser

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The Whitebridge Hotel.
The Whitebridge Hotel.

A Loch Ness-side hotel has been forced to abandon plans to showcase local producers at a community food market on Mother's Day.

The Whitebridge Hotel, 25 miles south of Inverness on the B862, planned the outdoor event for Sunday March 14.

After a mix-up over licensing, however, hotel owners Lesley Renton and Bella Kilgannon decided they had no option but to call off the planned market and barbecue event.

They on social media: “It is with heavy hearts that we have decided to cancel this event.

“We had all the approvals in place from Highland Council licensing department.

“Five days after receiving written confirmation that we could hold this event on the basis of our premises license, we received a further letter from another person within the same department advising that we were unable to go ahead using that particular license and would have to apply for an additional license.”

The couple were told that the event could go ahead, but would require them to run all of the stalls themselves.

They added: “We don't feel this will be enough to provide the varied shopping experience we had hoped for.

“We're really disappointed as we believe that having a community-based market outdoors is much safer than everyone travelling to Inverness, and much more convenient than trying to get a delivery slot from supermarkets.

“If we had been a community organisation rather than a business then we would not have been subject to the same licensing requirements.

“This is a real shame as we put this event on to benefit the community with all proceeds going to charity.

“It's also a shame for all of the local producers who had been glad of the opportunity for a sales outlet locally.”

The hotel will still be selling Mother's Day Foodie Gift boxes for collection on Saturday 13 or Sunday 14 March.

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