Students have responded with shock to the council’s claims that Cheltenham is a safe town at night.
They say that their ‘late night levy’ scheme has had a ‘positive impact on the town’s night time economy’, but students at the University of Gloucestershire disagree.
Sarah Small, a third year accounting student, has not had good experiences at night time: “A lot of houses in my area have been burgled and I have had people walk towards me shouting abuse.”
She feels that the town does not have adequate street lighting and has had particularly bad experiences in certain areas of town, away from the high street.
“I have been followed down dark streets in the St Paul’s area by men who are dressed in dark attire and acting suspiciously.”
The late night levy means that premises that are authorised to supply alcohol between 12.01am and 6am have to pay between £299 and £4,400 to Gloucestershire Police and Cheltenham Borough Council.
The money is then used to spend on projects to “promote greater diversity in the night-time economy”. Previous efforts have led to the town getting Purple Flag accreditation for “surpassing the standards of excellence in managing the evening an night time economy.”
The council’s proposal to reintroduce the levy for a second year comes less that two weeks after a girl called Emily was left drunk and alone in town by her friends.
Cheltenham Guardians, a community support group who work with the police to help people at night time, looked after her for two hours and ended up calling an ambulance for Emily. Their Facebook post about the incident then went viral.
Local businesses have until Thursday 1 December to bid for a share of the 70k raised by the levy.
Read Cheltenham Borough Council’s full statement here.
Cheltenham Guardians Twitter page.