Weston night outs will be ‘made safer’ through Best Bar None scheme

DCI Leanne Pook, Cllr Felicity Baker, National co-ordinator of Best Bar Non Mick McDonnell, Vision m

DCI Leanne Pook, Cllr Felicity Baker, National co-ordinator of Best Bar Non Mick McDonnell, Vision manager Hayley Johnson and community safety manager Howard Pothecary. Picture: North Somerset Council - Credit: North Somerset Council

A new scheme to improve the night-time experience for people in Weston has been launched.

North Somerset Council has signed up to the Best Bar None scheme in the town centre’s Purple Flag area.

The national accreditation scheme, which has been supported by the Home Office and the drinks industry, is aimed at promoting responsible management and operation of alcohol-licensed premises.

It was piloted in Manchester 15 years ago and found to improve overall standards in the night-time economy.

It has now been adopted by 75 towns and cities with Weston being the most recent to join.

National co-ordinator Mick McDonnell said: “On December 6, we launched it to the police, Business Improvement District and traders and pulled them together and we will get things underway in the new year.

“It is about working together to improve Weston as a whole and make it safer for everyone.

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“By making the town centre a safer and more vibrant place it will increase footfall and the fact is, if you have more people coming out and staying out, the businesses will benefit.

“It is about getting staff to be more aware of gambling, vulnerability of people and how they safeguard people like through the #AskForAngela campaign.”

Pubs and bars will undergo an assessment period where they are judged against a criteria and then given suggestions on how to improve or given the accreditation.

Vision manager Hayley Johnson said: “The aim is to get everyone to get to the same level to create a safer night out for the customer.

“People move between different places and you want to be able to expect the same treatment and standards everywhere you go on your night out.

“It is trying to change the perception of people to say ‘wherever you go, you are safe’.”

The council’s community safety manager, Howard Pothecary, said: “We are really excited to have now launched the scheme here in Weston, a scheme which has a track record of making people safer and improving standards in licensed premises in towns and cities across the country.”

Find out more about the Best Bar None campaign, click here.