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‘A fantastic endorsement’: Town centre retains Purple Flag status

ITS COMMITMENT to creating and maintaining a thriving and safe evening and nighttime economy has earned Northampton official Purple Flag status for the quality of its offering.

The award highlights Northampton’s blend of nighttime entertainment, dining, and culture and hails in particular the licensed driver training scheme for taxi drivers and the town’s new nighttime economy strategy.

Purple Flag, similar to the Blue Flag for beaches, aims to raise the standard and broaden the appeal of town and city centres between the hours of 5pm to 5am. There are 100 Purple Flag destinations around the world including world-renowned tourist destinations to small market towns.

Accreditation can boost the local economy, increase tourism and improve the overall quality of life for residents by providing more nighttime entertainment and social opportunities.

Cllr David Smith, cabinet member for community safety and engagement and regulatory services at West Northamptonshire Council, said: “With the help of partners we have delivered an incredible amount of work over the past three years to improve the nighttime economy in Northampton and ensure that residents and visitors feel safe at all times.

“The impact of this work is evident in the reduced crime rates and feedback from local businesses and I am delighted that this was recognised by the Purple Flag auditors on their visit to Northampton town centre during one of our peak nighttime economy weekends.”

The council, the Office of the Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner and Northampton Town Centre Business Improvement District, working with partners, have held Purple Flag status for five years. Northampton is one of ten areas in the UK to have received a Full Renewal accreditation.

Mark Mullen pictured left, operations manager at Northampton Town Centre BID, said: “Creating a safe and welcoming environment for our visitors is key to a successful nighttime economy and I am delighted the efforts of multiple partners to do just this has been recognised.

“We enjoy a close working relationship with local authorities, emergency services and the volunteer groups who all play an integral role in ensuring visitors can enjoy a night out in Northampton.”

West Northamptonshire Council and its partners have delivered a range of initiatives to improve safety in the town centre over the past three years. This includes investing in ID scan technology in clubs and bars, improvements to street lighting at taxi ranks and other identified dark spaces, launching the Flare App, creating safer walking routes and help points in the Racecourse and Beckets Park, increased CCTV and Police Nightsafe crews around the town centre and introducing a new Taxi Marshal service to promote safer travelling at nighttime.

The West Community Safety Partnership also led the development of the It Only Takes One campaign promoting safety advice for women and raising awareness of the impact that harassment and inappropriate behaviour can have while educating bystanders to recognise unacceptable behaviour. In addition, the rollout of ‘Stand by Her’ training was delivered to young men in education to help them understand the impact of harassing behaviour on women.

Stephen Mold, the Northamptonshire Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner, said: “The OPFCC has worked with West Northamptonshire Council to invest in a number of safety measures in the town centre, including new CCTV help points and well-lit safe walking routes.

“It is a fantastic endorsement for Northampton to be awarded Purple Flag accreditation and demonstrates that the many efforts to improve safety in the town centre are having a very positive effect.”

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