Barnsley town centre continues to set itself apart from other high streets having been awarded with prestigious Purple Flag status. This identifies the town centre as offering an entertaining, diverse, safe and enjoyable night out. Barnsley joins only three other towns in the Yorkshire region to gain Purple Flag Status; those include Leeds, Sheffield and Halifax.

The Purple Flag has a number of benefits for towns, with the associated raised profile and public image contributing to increased expenditure and lower crime and anti-social behaviour as well as a more successful and diverse economy in the longer term. The accreditation was achieved thanks to a number of measures put in place by Barnsley Council, including tackling binge drinking. Barnsley Council launched the Best Bar None initiative in November 2017, which is an Accreditation Scheme with National Awards supported by the Home Office and the drinks industry. It is aimed at promoting responsible management and operation of alcohol licensed premises.

Barnsley won the ‘Best New Scheme’ in this year’s prestigious ‘National Best Bar None Awards’, with the judges commending Barnsley’s focus on public health and awarding bonus points to licensed premises for offering five low sugar non-alcoholic options, as well as signposting local drug and alcohol support services. As part of Best Bar None, Barnsley Council’s Public Health team encouraged bars, pubs, clubs and restaurants across Barnsley to join the “Ask for Angela” scheme, a simple code-word campaign for people feeling unsafe on a date. It also supported off-licences to join a scheme to not sell single cans of high strength alcohol, in a bid  to crack down on street drinking, which contributes to anti-social behaviour and littering in the area.

Councillor Jim Andrews, Cabinet Spokesperson for Public Health, said:

We are absolutely delighted to have been awarded with the Purple Flag accreditation. Barnsley joins only three other towns in the Yorkshire region to gain Purple Flag status so this is a huge achievement. We have worked hard over the past three years to improve Barnsley’s evening and night-time economy and address a number of issues to make our town centre a more vibrant and welcoming place that offers a safe and enjoyable night out. We have launched a number of schemes here in Barnsley to improve the town centre and support our Purple Flag submission; Best Bar None, Ask for Angela and Reducing the Strength have all proved to be successful schemes. Growing the Best Bar None scheme is one of our priorities – we have been shortlisted for this year’s most innovative scheme for introducing our own category for ‘Best Dining Experience’. The Association of Town and City Management commended the fact that Barnsley is the first area in the country to have a Public Health lead for Purple Flag. Whilst we recognise that this is an important achievement we know there is always more to do and our hard work and commitment will continue.”

Barnsley is already a thriving market town and is set to attract even more visitors with its new status and thanks to the regeneration of the town centre. This includes the Glass Works redevelopment, a major transformation of the town centre, which will make Barnsley a go-to-retail and leisure destination with a diverse range of shops, restaurants and leisure activities. It will include a 13-screen Cineworld, Superbowl UK, a state of the art library and community hub, a new public square, a modernised public realm and a home for Barnsley’s famous and award winning market, plus Market Kitchen which offers a range of street foods.