BARNSLEY’S multi-million pound town centre regeneration has received further plaudits with its night-time offering being awarded through a nationally-recognised scheme.

Council bosses are celebrating being awarded Purple Flag status, identifying the town centre as offering a ‘diverse, safe and enjoyable’ night out.

Barnsley joins only three other Yorkshire towns and cities – Leeds, Sheffield and Halifax – in gaining the accreditation.

It’s hoped the mark will further raise the profile of the town and bring in more money and a more diverse economy, following record levels of footfall already ahead of the Glass Works development’s expected completion next year.

Coun Jim Andrews, cabinet spokesman for public health, said: “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.”

Barnsley Council launched the Best Bar None scheme in November 2017, which gained support from the Home Office and drinks industry.

The council hopes at least 70 per cent of venues will be signed up to the scheme, which is aimed at promoting responsible management and operation of alcohol licensed premises, by the end of the year.

Barnsley’s public health team was commended at last year’s Best Bar None Awards for its work encouraging bars and pubs to sign up to ‘Ask For Angela’, a code-word scheme for people who feel unsafe on a date or at a gathering, as well as its encouragement of off-licences not to sell single cans of high-strength alcohol.

Coun Andrews added: “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.”

Since the Market Kitchen’s opening in October, the independent food court has seen a variety of vendors joined by the Cucina Sky Lounge, and Hill 16, a cocktail bar on Market Hill.