New towns join Purple Flag scheme for night-time quality

Purple Flag

Two new locations in the UK have been awarded Purple Flags which recognise efforts to raise standards and broaden the appeal of town and city centres in the evenings and at night.

Solihull in the West Midlands and Newbury in Berkshire have become part of the scheme, bringing the total number of towns and cities across the UK and Ireland to 50. Bray and Killarney in the Republic of Ireland have also just been awarded Purple Flags.

They have all been recognised for providing diverse and vibrant local evening and night-time economies, and for scoring highly for the services they provide.

On top of the four additions, three centres have been granted applications for renewals: Clerkenwell and Islington in London, Maidstone in Kent and Ennis in Ireland.

Philip Kolvin QC, chairman of the Purple Flag Board, said: “The four new centres that have been awarded a Purple Flag this year have managed their respective night-time experiences to an exemplary standard.

“I am delighted that this year we have expanded to 50 Purple Flag holders across the UK and Ireland. The great expansion of this initiative demonstrates the importance of collaborative and partnership working: each individual city showcases results achieved through various agencies and organisations working together to share their key strengths.”

Similar to the Blue Flag for beaches, the programme began in 2007 and has led to all areas reporting a consistent increase in footfall during their evening period as a result of taking part.

The scheme is managed by the Association of Town Centre Managers working alongside the Purple Flag Advisory Committee – a partnership of key stakeholder groups backed by Government, police and business as well as sponsor Diageo GB.

Purple Flag accredited towns and cities have proven that they are welcoming to everyone, offer safe ways for visitors to travel home after dark and provide a good mix of venues.

Purple Flag towns and cities benefit from more visitors and improved perceptions, as well as reported reductions of up to 60% in crime and anti-social behaviour levels.

Mark Baird, head of industry affairs and alcohol policy from Diageo GB, said: “Diageo is delighted to see the Purple Flag initiative reach this significant milestone. It is with great pride that we now see the Purple Flag flying over 50 cities across the UK and Ireland.

“We recognise the importance of a vibrant and welcoming town centre at night and to reach this end remain dedicated to supporting the Purple Flag programme.

“Urban centres after dark have long been burdened with negative stereotypes and through the Purple Flag scheme we are challenging this negativity and highlighting instead the beneficial contribution of the night time economy for everyone.”

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