The Star Says: Night life has to see the light sometime

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There aren’t many of us who don’t enjoy the odd glass or two over the weekend.

Occasionally we may indulge during the week but more often than not the ‘not on a school night’ rule comes into force before we have too many.

Whether it is at home, in the local pub or out around town most people know when enough’s enough and it is time to stop drinking.

The relaxation of licensing laws some years ago were laughably sold on the premise of creating a ‘cafe culture’ across Britain.

A few people may benefit from being able to buy a drink during the early hours of the morning up and down the high street but for the most part we could have survived perfectly well with the existing laws.

So it is no wonder that proposals to extend the opening times of Reflex and Flares on Holly Street in Sheffield city centre by an hour – which would mean it can sell alcohol until 4am – have been met with objections from local residents.

The proposals, which are due to be considered next week by Sheffield Council, would allow the venue to remain open until 4.30am.

The venue’s current licence means it can sell alcohol until 3am and close at 3.30am.

And we’re not just talking a couple of nights/mornings a week here. This would be seven days a week.

At some point a line has to be drawn in the city centre. Drinking when the sun is coming up is very unlikely to be the domain of those enjoying a quiet half.

The argument will come back that night workers coming off a shift or staff who work at other bars in the city may want to go out for a drink after they have finished. However, this can’t work in isolation. You can’t have a bar solely for people who have just finished work.

There is often the dream of a creating a 24-hour city but let’s leave that for others to experiment with.

For any good that would come out of extending the opening hours of this venue there would be a knock-on effect for police, street cleaners and everyone else that has to deal with the aftermath of late night drinking. Also, residents in nearby accommodation – while accepting the benefits and negatives of living in a city centre – must have their views taken into account.

We’re all for Sheffield having a vibrant and diverse nightlife but on this occasion we hope the licensing officers will see the bigger picture and say the existing opening hours are sufficient.

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