Flying the flag for a safe and vibrant night time economy in Northampton

Posted 26th March 2024

Northampton’s commitment to creating a dynamic, secure and vibrant evening and night time economy has been formally recognised with the confirmation of its Purple Flag accreditation.

Mark Mullen, operations manager at Northampton Town Centre Business Improvement District (BID) was on hand to collect the globally recognised award at a ceremony in Nottingham, alongside Charlie Childs, Markets and Urban Activities Manager at West Northamptonshire Council.

This prestigious award highlights Northampton’s blend of night time entertainment, dining, and culture, all while ensuring the safety and well-being of residents and visitors.

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 everything from world renowned tourist destinations to small market towns.

Northampton Town Centre BID has worked closely with multiple partners, including West Northamptonshire Council and the Office of the Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner to successfully retain the Purple Flag status for five years. Northampton is one of 10 areas in the UK to have received a Full Renewal accreditation with 13 others receiving an Interim Renewal accreditation.

Mr Mullen said: “Creating a safe and welcoming environment for our visitors is key to a successful night time economy and I’m delighted the efforts of multiple partners to do just this has been recognised.

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

“We look forward to developing that further as we prepare for the exciting plans afoot for our town centre with the reimagined Market Square, the opening of STACK and a refreshed Fish Street and Abington Street.”

Through a business-led programme of investment, Northampton Town Centre BID aims to work with all stakeholders to define, develop and promote the identity of Northampton town centre, reflecting its strengths, characteristics and heritage and ensuring it is a sustainable and vibrant place that generates pride for businesses, local residents and visitors alike.

Receiving the Purple Flag accreditation can boost the local economy, increase tourism, and improve the overall quality of life for residents by providing more night time entertainment and social opportunities. It’s a way for cities and towns to demonstrate their commitment to creating vibrant and safe evening and night time environments.

Key successes in Northampton’s submission include the introduction of a dedicated night time economy strategy , the launch of a licensed driver training scheme ID scanning technology in pubs, clubs and bars, a new anonymous anti-social behaviour reporting app and increased CCTV provision in the town centre.

The Safer Nights Out Van concept, where the Northampton Guardian volunteers are available every Friday and Saturday night to support vulnerable people, was also cited as a successful programme, alongside the ‘It Only Takes One’ campaign and ‘Stand By Her’ training scheme.

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 3 years to improve the night time 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 night time economy weekends.

“The council is committed to working with businesses to ensure we remain a safe and vibrant evening destination and we look forward to continuing this vital ongoing work to make West Northamptonshire a safe, enjoyable and welcoming place for all.”

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