Sheffield bids for safe night out title

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A new bid for Sheffield city centre to be officially recognised as a safe, high-quality night out has been launched.

The city’s town centre management team is spearheading an attempt to get Purple Flag accreditation for the city centre for the second time running.

The mark, similar to a Green Flag for parks and Blue Flag for beaches, is given to towns and cities which can show they have an ‘entertaining, diverse, safe and enjoyable’ night out.

Sheffield won the award two years ago but now has to undergo assessment from scratch to obtain the recognition again under the award’s rules.

Assessors went out in the city centre last night and visited several bars, restaurants and streets.

Richard Eyre, head of city centre management at Sheffield Council, said: “I am pretty confident we can get the Purple Flag again.

“We were the first city in Yorkshire to get Purple Flag.

“It’s not just about going out and getting drunk, it’s about our selection of theatres, being able to get a cup of coffee at 2am and transport links.”

He pointed to the partnership between Sheffield Council and police working to make the area safer and to schemes such as Best Bar None and the street pastors.

Best Bar None is an awards system run nationally and in Sheffield which recognises well-run venues. In the past, The Frog & Parrot on Division Street has won second place in the country.

Mr Eyre added: “We did fantastically to get Purple Flag two years ago.

“One of the challenges we face is our late night transport. A lot of cities have late night buses but ours could be a bit better, so people don’t have to take expensive taxis at the end of a night out.

“A criticism we have of the scheme is that not enough people know about Purple Flag, so they are listening to that and part of the assessment this year is raising awareness.”

Sheffield will find out if it has been awarded the flag bid has been successful in a month.

Star readers took to Facebook to air their views about the city as a night out.

Stuart Turner said: “Went in last Sunday teatime – group of winos and druggies on front of Devonshire Green, fighting and arguing amongst themselves and several smashed windows up Division Street.”

Lyn Carnall said: “I think its reasonably safe now. I know quite a few people who still go for nights out in Sheffield without any problem whatsoever, I use Sheffield theatres and that area of Sheffield city centre and I’ve always felt safe there.”