City nightlife ‘should be less drink-driven’

PARTY: Town Hall bosses want a more varied nightlife

PARTY: Town Hall bosses want a more varied nightlife

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A project to expand the city’s nightlife and make it less dependent on drinking is underway at the Town Hall.

Preston After Hours was launched by the communities scrutiny panel to work to offer more in the evenings than the current pub culture.

And leaders hope the Guild Hall will become a “beacon” for Preston and help drive Preston to become “the North West’s first city”.

Coun Drew Gale, chairman of the cross-party task group, said: “What we want to achieve is a move away from the consensus that Preston after hours is just about the pub. We want that to remain part of the evenings’ activities, but we want it to be so much more.

“We want people and families and colleagues to stay in the city centre after work or come as a destination to visit our restaurants and theatres, which is why we are working already with the perspective new owners of the Guild Hall.

“We want it to be our beacon and be successful, because if the Guild Hall is successful the city will be successful.”

Coun Gale said the panel would work with other groups to come up with ideas.

He said: “What we’ll be doing in due course is a symposium to get together a group of like-minded individuals from across the city, whether they be business owners or politicians.

“We want to bring together all interested parties – people with talent and individual ideas who understand the business world.

“Friday or Saturday after hours is about going to the pub, but we want kids to be able to go and watch a show at the Guild Hall and have a meal with their parents after.

“We need to be forward thinking and innovative, and I think the perspective transfer of the Guild Hall could well be the catalyst.

“It should be the beacon for our city – it has the ability to bring thousands of people.”

He said the improvements to the city’s evening culture would be a “long slog”, but said: “We can make a difference, we’ve just got to want to.”

He added: “Let’s be the North West’s first city.”

Other projects to be looked at by the task group include working with veterans to provide facilities for different groups to work more closely together, and also tackling worklessness within the community.