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Making nights out more fun
THE nightlife of Swindon town centre is in the middle of a revival thanks to simple co-operation.
Crime is falling and revellers are on the increase.
Much of the credit is being given to Pubwatch, a group of town centre pubs and bars who work together with the aim of making the town centre as enjoyable as possible.
Paul Mellor, 34, has been the chairman of the group for almost two years and believes Pubwatch benefits everyone.
“All of the members operate in the town centre so we want to make it as nice a place as possible,” said Paul, who manages Yates’s in Bridge Street.
“If we can make night times safer then customers will have a better time and Swindon improves on the whole.”
Alcohol-fuelled incidents have fallen by 50 per cent year on year and Paul believes this is largely because of the efforts of the licensees.
He said: “We meet every month to discuss all the issues which are affecting the pub industry.
“We have restructured the banning orders so we can have a much more comprehensive list of people who are no longer allowed in any of the city centre premises.”
As part of the changes, the length of ban depends on the type of offence.
A first time offender may only get a three-month ban while a more serious crime will see a longer ban.
The members of Pubwatch, who work closely with the police, have also chosen the Helen and Douglas House as their charity of the year, meaning every member has a collection box on the bar.
Paul believes the unity of the group has helped to give Swindon licensees more of a voice.
“As we speak together it is much easier to communicate with other agencies to get things done,” he said.
“For example, at the end of last year we walked around the town centre with some of the councillors to see what could be done.
“Straight away we got help and many of the street lights were fixed.”
Paul also believes Swindon’s night time economy is improving with many of the pubs and clubs reporting an increase in trade.
He said: “A lot of the venues at this end of town have invested heavily in their premises over the last few years. I don’t think they would have done that if they didn’t think there was something worth staying for.”
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