Will we be toasting national win?

The Lancer
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Central Bedfordshire’s Best Bar None scheme has been shortlisted for three national awards.

The scheme has been running here for three years and in that time it has grown significantly, from six accredited venues in Dunstable in 2014 to 22 across Dunstable, Houghton Regis and Leighton-Linslade in 2016.

Dunstable Leisure Centre

Dunstable Leisure Centre

Its profile has also risen immeasurably, and that has led to the scheme being shortlisted in all three categories: Overall Best Scheme; Best New Scheme and Best in Innovation in the national Best Bar None awards.

Of the 36 schemes nationwide which were eligible for the awards, Central Bedfordshire is the only one shortlisted in more than one category, being up against Sheffield and Durham for the overall award; Torquay and Clapham for the best new scheme and Exeter and Nottinghamshire for innovation.

The winners will be announced at a parliamentary reception on Tuesday, January 31, with the prize for Overall Best Scheme worth £3,000 and £1,000 each for the other two categories.

Cllr Brian Spurr, Executive Member for Community Services at Central Bedfordshire Council, said: “It’s brilliant news that our Best Bar None scheme has been nominated for a full house of awards as it recognises the hard work which has taken place over the past three years to develop it in Dunstable, Houghton Regis and Leighton Buzzard.

“That’s testament to everyone involved in organising the scheme locally and also all of the licensed venues which have taken part, as their hard work in getting accredited means that customers are guaranteed a safe and enjoyable night out.

“I know that we have been shortlisted against some very big schemes nationally, but I hope that everyone’s dedication to making Best Bar None such a success translates into success when the winners are announced later this month.”

Sgt Craig Gurr from Bedfordshire Police’s Licensing Team, said: “Bedfordshire Police are proud partners in the Best Bar None scheme. We are delighted that the Dunstable, Houghton Regis and Leighton-Linslade scheme has been nationally recognised and are finalists in all three categories.

“It demonstrates the hard work and commitment of all involved and considering the level of the competition, it shows that the Central Bedfordshire scheme can punch well above its weight when it comes to promoting Dunstable, Houghton Regis and Leighton-Linslade as the places to come for a great and safe night out.”

Best Bar None is co-ordinated by Central Beds, Leighton-Linslade, Houghton Regis and Dunstable town councils, Fire, Police, the PCC’s office, local venues and businesses all working together for the benefit of the local community.

It aims to make towns great places to go out by making pubs, clubs and leisure venues even more welcoming places for visitors. That means everything from making sure that customers and staff are safe to ensuring that tables are clear of dirty glasses and toilets are clean

Accreditation through the scheme demonstrates that venues are operating to a high standard and in a responsible manner.

This year’s awards saw four winners announced locally with Dunstable Leisure Centre and The Lancer the respective overall winners for Dunstable/Houghton Regis and Leighton-Linslade. Meanwhile, Club Cookies and The Black Lion claimed the People’s Vote titles for the two areas.

The People’s Vote awards were sponsored by Leighton Buzzard Brewing Company, which produced a special commemorative Best Bar None bitter to tie in with this year’s scheme.

> For more information about Best Bar None, visit www.centralbedfordshire.gov.uk/bestbarnone