Southend earns Purple Flag accolade
Southend has a new flag to add to its impressive haul of five blue and four green ones – a PURPLE flag.
Purple Flag is a new accreditation scheme which recognises excellence in the management of town and city centres at night. And just as Blue Flags are a guarantee of good beaches, Purple Flags act as an indicator of where to go for a good night out.
The standard is only awarded to entertainment areas which are judged to have met a strict set of criteria.
To date only 25 Purple Flags have been awarded but today (Wednesday 25th April) the Association of Town Centre Management (ATCM) has announced five new recipients. They include Southend’s High Street and Sea Front, the first area in Essex to have its night-time economy recognised.
In awarding the Purple Flag the ATCM rated Southend as ‘above standard’ in two of the five judging criteria - ‘Wellbeing’ and ‘A Broad Appeal’. The judges found the town’s High Street and Sea Front to be “welcoming, safe and clean” and said they offered “a vibrant choice and a rich mix of entertainment and activity”. They also met the required standard in the ‘Movement’, ‘Place’ and ‘Policy Envelope’ judging criteria.
Southend’s bid for Purple Flag status was launched by Southend-on-Sea Borough Council in partnership with Essex Police.
Among the features of the town’s night-time economy which were recognised by the judges were: an innovative town centre policing strategy the ‘BOBB’ (Behave or Be Banned) scheme, which they said was “well enforced and respected” by the police and local businesses the availability of fixed and portable toilets the SoS Bus – “an excellent example of what can be achieved through multi-agency co-operation” and the town’s ‘Clubwatch’ scheme, where representatives of 35 town centre clubs, pubs and bars meet regularly with police to share intelligence and good practice.
Southend-on-Sea Borough Council’s Chief Executive, Rob Tinlin, said: “I am delighted that the Association of Town Centre Management has awarded Southend a Purple Flag.
“The night-time economy is hugely important to Southend and the Purple Flag is an endorsement that our High Street and Sea Front are vibrant, safe and clean places to visit.
“What goes on in the town between the hours of 5pm and 6am is every bit as vital to the local economy as what occurs during daylight hours.
“This award recognises the work that we have been doing with partner agencies such as Essex Police, the Town Centre Partnership, Southend YMCA and Clubwatch.”
South Essex’s Policing Commander, Superintendent Andy Prophet, said: “We are very pleased that Southend has won the award.
“We have worked hard with our partners to ensure people who visit the seaside resort and work in our night-time businesses are kept safe.
“The purple flag award is recognition of the fact that Southend is a pleasant and safe place to work in, live in and visit.
“That said, I am in no way complacent and my officers, with partners, will continue to work hard to ensure this remains the case."
The Purple Flag scheme was developed by ATCM from original research undertaken by the Civic Trust as part of the "NightVision" project.
This showed that more people would use town and city centres at night if they were safer, more accessible and offered more choice.
The other four areas awarded Purple Flag status today were Lincoln, Ipswich, Sheffield and Aberystwyth.
Philip Kolvin QC, Chairman of the Purple Flag Board said: “The five new towns which have been awarded with the Purple Flag accreditation have worked tremendously hard to achieve it.
“They all deliver a range of activities, initiatives and services in their centres as part of a committed partnership.”
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