Guildford is celebrating its success in being awarded the much coveted Purple Flag status for its evening and night-time economy for a third consecutive year, having received its first award in October 2013. Guildford is one of more than 65 towns and cities across the UK and Ireland who proudly fly the Purple Flag and is currently the only town in Surrey to have gained such accreditation.
The Purple Flag – similar to the Blue Flag for beaches – aims to raise the standards and broaden the appeal of town and city centres between the hours of 5.00pm and 5.00am. Areas awarded the Purple Flag are recognised for providing a vibrant and diverse mix of dining, entertainment and culture while promoting the safety and well-being of visitors and local residents. Purple Flag accredited towns and cities have also all reported a consistent increase in footfall and 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) working alongside the Purple Flag Advisory Committee – a partnership of key stakeholder groups backed by Government, police and businesses, as well as the UK sponsors, Diageo Great Britain.
The Guildford Town Purple Flag Partnership, coordinated by Stuart Craggs, night-time economy manager at Experience Guildford, the town centre’s Business Improvement District (BID), and led by Councillor Graham Ellwood, Lead Councillor for Licensing and Community Safety, were responsible for driving and delivering a third term Purple Flag accreditation. Alongside Experience Guildford and Guildford Borough Council, the partnership also includes Surrey Police, Surrey Fire and Rescue, Guildford Pubwatch, Guildford Street Angels and the night-time venues of Guildford. Collectively they have worked to raise the profile of the town and its evening and night-time economy offering, covering pubs, clubs, bars, restaurants and entertainment venues and tackling issues of safety and transport, street lighting, signage and parking.
Guildford’s commitment and continued efforts to reduce alcohol-related crime and disorder were praised by assessors, as was its diverse mix of food and drink establishments on offer. Credited for a wide choice of evening and night-time entertainment, key venues highlighted in the assessor’s report included G Live, Yvonne Arnaud Theatre, Electric Theatre, Spectrum Leisure Centre along with events such as Guildford Fringe Theatre, Guildford Shakespeare Company, open air events at Guildford Castle and the Open Air Cinema at Guildford Lido.
In terms of collectively tackling crime, Guildford was praised for the introduction of a ‘Guildford Town Crime Reduction Partnership’, led by Experience Guildford in association Guildford Borough Council, Surrey Police and Guildford Pubwatch, comprising of over 180 businesses within the town. Improved signage via a newly introduced wayfinder system throughout the town was commended, as was a night bus funded by the University of Surrey with support from Arriva Bus Company to improve student safety.
Stuart Craggs, night time economy manager at Experience Guildford says:
“Bringing back a Purple Flag for Guildford for the third consecutive year is a huge achievement for the town and a tremendous accomplishment for all those parties involved. Recognition such as this cannot be achieved in isolation – it represents the combined efforts of all those actively involved in ensuring that our night time economy is one to be proud of. Thanks must go to everyone for their hard work and commitment in retaining this status, including all the partners in the Guildford Town Purple Flag Partnership and the many businesses representing Guildford’s night-time economy.”
Cllr Graham Ellwood, Lead Councillor for Community Safety and Licensing at Guildford Borough Council adds:
“As Lead councillor for Licensing and Community Safety I am delighted that, for the third year running, Guildford has again been awarded a Purple Flag for the quality, variety and safety of our daytime and night-time economies. Retaining this prestigious award was made possible by tremendous partnership working across a broad spectrum of people and local organisations.”
Shanaaz Carroll, CEO of the ATCM continues:
“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.”