Soaring footfall by day, flying the Purple Flag by night

Barnsley has been awarded a coveted Purple Flag for the third consecutive year in recognition of its outstanding evening and night-time economy.

Purple Flag is a national accreditation similar to the Blue and Green Flags awarded to beaches and parks. It honours towns and cities that provide a vibrant and diverse mix of dining, entertainment and culture while promoting the safety and wellbeing of visitors and residents.

The bold regeneration of Barnsley town centre and way Barnsley Council works with voluntary groups and organisations, including the police and fire service, was singled out for praise by organisers, The Association of Town and City Centre Management (ATCM).

Judges examined how well the town’s nightlife met five core standards: strategy; wellbeing and safety; movement; appeal and diversity; and identity of place.

Barnsley has retained its Purple Flag despite the challenges caused by numerous pandemic lockdowns.

Council Leader, Cllr Sir Steve Houghton CBE said: “This is fantastic recognition of all the work Barnsley Council and its partners have done to improve the town centre, support businesses and make Barnsley a great place to visit, whether by day or night.

“The council has continued to invest in additional CCTV and public realm works to make the town centre a welcoming place to visit that’s safe and easy to get around. Our Five-Year plan for the town centre aims to attract investment and promote Barnsley as a safe, exciting and inclusive place to visit.

“The past two years have been very challenging for all businesses, but particularly for those in hospitality. Covid-19 hit us hard and greatly impacted our day and night-time economy but it’s extremely encouraging to see how well our town centre is bouncing back.

“We’re under no illusion it will take time to recover, but we’re on course and it remains our intention to help Barnsley grow by creating 28,000 jobs and attracting 1,600 new businesses by 2033.

“To see Barnsley recognised for the third year in a row is fabulous.”

Barnsley visitors can look forward to even more food and drink options in the coming months as national chains Nandos and Fridays open their doors. Retailers including River Island and Cruise will also open this Spring.

The new additions are expected to further boost Barnsley’s reputation as a great place for shopping, entertainment, and culture.

Emma Palmer, Head of Barnsley’s Pubwatch said: “We are delighted to hear that the town centre has been awarded the Purple Flag accreditation – again! It has been a very challenging time for the bar and hospitality sector, but we are on the road to recovery and with the Glass Works now open and the town centre buzzing again we feel confident. Schemes like Best Bar None and Purple Flag reinforce the value of our offer and are something to be proud of.”

An action packed events calendar has been announced to attract visitors who might not have visited the town recently. The fun starts during half term week with a Love Barnsley themed event incorporating art trails, an elephant sculpture trail and free activities for all the family.

Recent data revealed by Centre for Cities charted how Barnsley bucked national trends as it recovered from the height of the pandemic.

During the past year (2021/22) footfall has returned to pre-pandemic levels and at multiple points throughout the year footfall it grew significantly.

Footfall at both The Glass Works, Barnsley’s new retail and leisure destination, and the famous Barnsley Markets was 41.7% higher in September 2021 than the previous year.


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