Mike Wilkinson, the Gloucester Citizen's public affairs correspondent, takes an alternative stroll down the corridors of power in his weekly column.
NIGHTLIFE in Gloucester comes with its fair share of issues like any other town or city.
One minute we are told it is safe, the next people feel frightened to go out. One minute it’s booming, the next we’re losing out to Cheltenham.
But it is safe to say that I was mightily impressed today with the ‘get up and go’ attitude of the nighttime traders who attended a Nightsafe meeting.
There was a real sense that we are striving to make Gloucester a better and safer night out.
Eastgate Street will finally be fully pedestrianised in December during those busy party hours.
This could be the start of a whole raft of new street parties, festivals and events to bring ‘the strip’ to life.
But it will also, crucially, make it safer for party goers who will no longer have to dodge cars.
Bar and club owners are starting a new water revolution too – installing water coolers in their bars to allow punters to stay hydrated.
And an event on Friday, November 22 in King’s Square from 8pm will see people go-karting while sporting beer goggles. As they attempt to dodge cardboard cut-out people, they will soon realise the perils of drink-driving.
Wristbands that offer designated drivers free soft drinks are also going to be handed out.
These are all fantastic initiatives which should be applauded. I will be exploring each of these issues over the coming days in this paper.
If Gloucester’s nighttime economy can implement many of these ideas it will be a far cry from the criticisms that have previously been aired.
In fact it could go one further and pick up a Purple Flag award.
Applying for the award is on the cards and traders have thrown their support behind the idea.
Inspectors will come in and look at all our pubs and bars and judge them on how they cater for their customers and how safe they are.
Cities such as Bath, Oxford and Birmingham already have Purple Flag status – but Cheltenham does not. What a great accolade it would be to have a Purple Flag ahead of our nearest rivals.
SINCE I broke the news about plans for Gloucester’s only professional theatre to emerge out of the ashes of the Picturedrome, in Barton Street, an arts revival in the city has begun.
People are said to be excited about Gloucester and the arts once again, which is delightful to hear.
Those behind the scheme to turn the Barton Street area into the Gloucester Arts Quarter say that our city was once the place in the South West for the arts. They say it is high time ‘to reclaim our crown’.
Creative types met privately last week in Barton Street to discuss the arts revolution that is about to begin.
Phil McCormick, the man behind the Picturedrome revival, said: “All we need to do is connect all that is going on together and we already have a great creative and social base on which to build.”
Wise words. Let’s all bang our heads together and make Gloucester the place for arts once again.