SHEFFIELD City Centre Residents’ Action Group will have you believe that the people who stay awake to party in the city past midnight are nought but thieves and vagabonds.
They go headline hunting by suggesting the wake of the average night out in Sheffield’s hot-spots is simply a ‘sea of broken glass and vomit’. Are they right?
Then there’s the expense to the humble tax-payer of NHS bills due to the scores of folk that take their nights out one step too far; you could quickly come to the conclusion that planning and licensing committees should never allow another bar to open in Sheffield city centre, full stop.
But then talk to the custodians of the evening economy. They’ll tell you that the majority of revellers are law-abiding citizens who know how to ‘take their beer’.
They’ll tell you that a city’s reputation after dark is just as important as its manufacturing, legal, service, retail or other reputation.
So I believe Sheffield should embrace its opportunity to extend opening hours: by that I mean the people of the city.
The bars, restaurants, clubs and wine bars will inevitably dive in and soak up the revenues, but this is ultimately an opportunity for Sheffielders to prove that they can be a part of a city of opportunity, without resorting to excess and humiliation.
Debauchery, violence and the upward evacuation of myriad kebabs post midnight will not help Sheffield to progress.
Civilised enjoyment of a privilege afforded to the city’s nightlife will help businesses and indeed reputations to develop.
But it is up to all of us involved in creating a city that pulsates during the hours of darkness at it does during the waking hours.
I am calling on those of you who want to see Sheffield’s night out offering go from strength to strength – don’t become a cliché. Don’t become an ‘I told you so’.
Behave properly and everyone in the city will benefit.
by James Mitchinson