Reading has achieved the prestigious Purple Flag status for its evening and night-time economy in the town centre.
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 17:00 and 05:00. Areas awarded the Purple Flag are recognised for providing a vibrant and diverse mix of dining, entertainment and culture while promoting the safety and wellbeing of visitors and local residents.
The submission for Purple Flag status was led by Reading Business Improvement District (BID) along with key stakeholders including Reading Borough Council, Thames Valley Police, Street Pastors, Pub Watch and the University of Reading and was followed up by a 12 hour all night visit by an inspection team in the run up to Christmas.
Councillor Tony Page, Deputy Leader, Reading Borough Council: “Purple Flag status is recognition of what our residents and people from across the wider region have known for some time – that there are few places in the South East to match Reading town centre for its evening and night time offer.
“The success of Reading’s night time economy needs to be balanced against ensuring people who visit the town centre have a safe and enjoyable evening, while not forgetting of course the town centre is also home to many local residents. The Council has a strong track record of working closely with Reading BID, Thames Valley Police and other key partners to promote a safe, as well as enjoyable, night out. The award is recognition of that close partnership working which will continue.”
Since 2007, the programme has awarded the Purple Flag status to over 65 towns and cities in the UK and Ireland. Purple Flag accredited areas have all reported a consistent increase in footfall and a decrease in crime within the ENTE. 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.
Shanaaz Carroll, CEO of the ATCM said: "There are now over 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.”
Reading will officially receive the Purple Flag new accreditation along with Dublin One, Leeds, Limerick, Maynooth, Paisley, Wexford and a further seven towns Dunfermline, Leicester Square, Newcastle under Lyme, Preston, Salisbury, Sheffield and Southend who have had their Full Renewal status renewed at an awards ceremony which will take place on the 08 February 2017 in Carrick on Shannon, Ireland. A further 14 areas also received an Interim renewal accreditation.
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