For the fourth consecutive year, Bristol City Centre has been awarded the prestigious Purple Flag. The award is thanks to a concerted effort by all partners and follows a joint bid by Bristol City Council, Avon and Somerset Constabulary and Destination Bristol.
The Purple Flag is national recognition of Bristol’s successful, well-managed city centre and public acknowledgement that our city centre is a vibrant place to visit and enjoy at night time.
The Purple Flag award is an annual award, made by the national Association of Town Centre Management. In Bristol, the award is given in recognition of the wide choice of the city’s entertainment and leisure attractions, the huge range of restaurants, hotels, bars and clubs and the strong partnership working towards making the city centre safer.
Among positive improvements during the last year were:
• Increase in numbers of visitors and a number of highly successful events to attract them including: Gromit Unleashed; the Harbour Festival; and Make Sundays Special
• Reduction in city centre violence 2011-12 -6.7%
• Violent crime relating to the night time economy in the city centre has fallen by 3.9% for the first half of 2013.
• Increased opportunity for bar staff training aimed at promoting responsible drinking
• The continued increase in the number of Gold Standard taxi drivers operating in Bristol
• Continued enrichment of the night time offer which includes new restaurants and an evolving musical scene.
“A fourth consecutive Purple Flag in recognition of our well-managed and maintained city centre is excellent news,” says Bristol’s mayor, George Ferguson. “It’s a celebration of our vibrant, urban environment and shows our strong partnerships with the police, Destination Bristol and local businesses are paying dividends. “By working effectively together we can offer residents and visitors a great night out, where they can relax, celebrate and feel safe. Creating a welcoming city centre environment encourages visitors and brings a welcome boost the night-time economy.”
John Hirst, director for Destination Bristol, added: “The partnership has worked hard to make visiting Bristol’s city centre on an evening with family and friends a pleasurable experience, whether it involved following the Gromit Unleashed trail or a visit to the theatre or celebrating your best friend’s birthday. To be able to maintain our high standards - year on year - is evidence of our commitment to the Purple Flag initiative.”
Superintendent Richard Cadden of Avon and Somerset Constabulary, commented: “This has been a real partnership approach with the police playing their part alongside other agencies. We’re working hard to make sure that people in Bristol are safe and feel safe and I’m delighted that the efforts of the police and our partners in this venture have been recognised with the award of the Purple Flag status. So far this year crime in Bristol has fallen by 3.6% (from April to November) and this reduction is a trend we have seen for the past 10 years.“Bristol has a vibrant nightlife and we provide a police operation every weekend to make sure that people can go out and enjoy themselves safely. I hope this will be especially reassuring in the run up to Christmas when people are out celebrating and would ask them to think about their own behaviour and how much they drink to help the season pass with as few incidents as possible.”
The award followed a recent inspection of the city centre which established that standards have been maintained and improved. A wide range of criteria were assessed including:
• Cleanliness of the city centre open spaces
• Ease of getting into and out of the area
• Diverse appeal of entertainment, arts and culture
• How welcoming the area feels
• How safe the area is to visit
• The strength of the local links between agencies and business who operate in the night-time economy in the Purple Flag area.
Bristol attracts almost half a million overseas visitors a year (staying at least one night) and in 2009 was nominated as one of the top ten best cities in the world to visit for a short break (DK Eye Witness Travel). Visitors and residents bring the city centre to life and during the summer months. The city’s harbourside areas, public squares and green spaces are vibrant, exciting places and its visitor economy is worth an estimated £1billion annually to Bristol’s economy supporting almost 20,000 jobs.