Canterbury is celebrating after learning it has retained re-accreditation of the prestigious Purple Flag status for its evening and night-time economy for the third time since 2011. Purple Flag is a town and city centre award – similar to the Blue Flag for beaches – which aims to raise the standard and broaden the appeal of town and city centres between the hours of 18:00 & 05:00. Towns awarded the Purple Flag are recognised for providing a vibrant mix of entertainment while promoting the safety and wellbeing of visitors and local residents.
Since 2007, the programme has awarded the Purple Flag status to over 65 towns and cities in the UK and Ireland. Purple Flag accredited towns have all reported a consistent increase in footfall and a decrease in crime within the evening and night-time economy. The Purple Flag programme is managed by the Association of Town and City Management (ATCM) which works alongside – a partnership of key stakeholder groups backed by Government, police and businesses, as well as the UK sponsors Diageo Great Britain.
Canterbury has had Purple Flag accreditation since 2011 and the city has now been successful through three assessment visits in 2011, 2013 and the latest in December 2015. The Purple Flag campaign was launched by Canterbury City Council in 2011 but since the inception of the Canterbury Connected Business Improvement District (BID) Purple Flag has been passed to the BID to lead and coordinate.
In the latest reaccreditation, the assessors made a number of positive comments about the city’s evening and night time economy:
- The Street Pastor scheme is an excellent initiative. It creates a sense of safety around the town as does the new Street Marshals programme.
- Pubs were well managed with customer care a key focus.
- The first impression of Canterbury is that it is a beautiful and vibrant city which attracts a high number of tourists and citizens to the centre. The Christmas Lights looked very impressive.
- An excellent range of venues with some new and refurbished… appear to be operating very successfully.
- The city has a number of late night venues catering for the influx of students. They are well managed again with customer care being a major focus
- The city has a certain personality that is consolidated and well presented. It has an attractive presence that successfully blends the new with the old. A very pleasant city to visit which has an appeal for all ages.
- There is clear leadership in all sectors that can work in partnership sharing views, problems and solutions. Very strong positive and collaborative partnership was evident throughout visit.
Other aspects that were commented on favourably were the Street Marshall scheme being piloted by Canterbury Christ Church University and the University of Kent and also the participation of the Canterbury Society in the assessors’ visit to put the residents’ perspective on the city’s evening and late night experience. In their assessment the judges rated the city’s food & drink offer and the range and quality of our pubs as “outstanding” and the level of partnership working between the wide range of agencies, charities and businesses as “excellent”.
Areas for improvement include the planned upgrade of the city’s subway network; city centre signage; and a perceived lack of live music.
Finally, the judges in their summary said:
“The panel would like to congratulate you in particular as it really shows through on the submission and assessment at just how good a place Canterbury is with their night time economy (NTE)”
Shanaaz Carroll, CEO (Interim) of the ATCM said:
“There are now almost 70 towns and cities across the UK and Ireland who are proudly flying the Purple Flag after working hard to gain accreditation. The award is not just about safety, but also the vibrancy and diversity of the evening and night-time offer — this can only be achieved by people working together and across the country we are seeing some amazing examples of this type of partnership working.”
Canterbury will officially receive our Purple Flag re-accreditation along with Beckenham, Chippenham, Shrewsbury, Weston super Mare and ten towns who have had their status renewed at an awards ceremony on the 25 February in Aylesbury Vale.
About Purple Flag
The ‘after dark’ economy is worth over £66bn annually to the UK, supporting thousands of businesses, employing 4.5% of the UK workforce, and significantly contributing to local economies. This series of events intends to capture people’s imaginations, change perceptions and encourage people to do something different with their evening in a variety of locations.
The Purple Flag programme was developed following the Civic Trust’s “Night Vision” report in 2006, and is now managed by the Association of Town & City Management.
Purple Flag is:
- An accreditation process similar to Green Flag Award for parks and Blue Flag for beaches. It leads to Purple Flag status for town centres that meet or surpass the standards of excellence in managing the evening and night-time economy.
- A comprehensive set of standards, management processes and good practice examples designed to help transform town and city centres at night.
- A research, training and development programme, to help towns and cities improve their evening and night-time economy.
- A positive initiative that indicates an entertaining, diverse, safe and enjoyable night out.
Mark Baird, Head of Alcohol in Society, from Purple Flag sponsor Diageo GB said:
“Diageo is delighted to be a part of the thirteenth round of the Purple Flag programme. It is fantastic to see over 65 cities in the UK and Ireland now flying the Purple Flag; each one of these centres has been individually recognised for their efforts to promote a fun yet safe night time environment. Purple Flag is an excellent initiative working to eradicate the negative stereotype associated with urban centres at night.”
Towns/Cities with Purple Flag Status:
Beckenham – London Borough of Bromley
Carrick on Shannon
Clerkenwell – Islington
Derry – Londonderry
Gants Hill (LB Redbridge)
Halifax – Calderdale
Leicester Square – London
Newcastle under Lyme
Stockton Heath (Warrington)
Weston super Mare
 TBR MAKE Night-Time Economy Index 2009
 TBR MAKE Night-Time Economy Index 2010