Night-time economy boost for WestonSafer Stronger North Somerset
Weston-super-Mare has received another boost to its commitment to provide a vibrant and welcoming night-time economy. Following a successful application by North Somerset Council, Weston is one of the 33 areas chosen by the Home Office for the second phase of the Local Alcohol Action Area (LAAA) programme.
This follows the recent announcement that the town has again been awarded Purple Flag status by the Association of Town and City Management in recognition of its safe and diverse evening and night-time economy. One of the core aims of the LAAA programme in Weston is generating economic growth by creating a vibrant and diverse night-time economy.
“Being part of the programme fits in really well with our town centre regeneration ambitions,” said Cllr Felicity Baker, North Somerset Council’s executive member responsible for community safety.
“It means we will be working with the Home Office over the next two years on developing and implementing our plans to improve the night-time experience in Weston for everyone.
“It also means we will be able to share best practice with the other areas involved in the programme and learn from each other.”
As well as support from central government, specialist help will also be available from not-for-profit company Nightworks who have 12 years’ experience of helping areas diversify and improve their evening and night-time economies.
Two of the key objectives in 2017 for the Weston night-time economy team are:
- to get the safer communities bus Mavis out in town every Saturday night. This will involve recruiting and training volunteers. Mavis (multi-agency vehicle in service) provides a hub for police, ambulance, street wardens, street pastors, licensing and other local agencies working in the night-time economy enabling them to offer immediate, highly visible assistance to ensure people have a safe night out.
- to introduce an accreditation scheme for well managed licensed premises having a positive impact on the night-time economy. This would link into the existing traffic light scheme which ensures licensed premises meet certain standards.
Weston was one of 20 areas chosen for the first phase of the LAAA programme in 2014. “The Home Office has recognised the excellent partnership work that has already been done in Weston, resulting in last year’s reduction in night-time economy crime and disorder in the town centre, and is keen to work with us to ensure that continues,” added Cllr Baker.
“With all the development taking place at Dolphin Square and elsewhere in the town centre we have a great opportunity to re-shape the night-time economy and attract more people into town to enjoy a safe night out.”