Despite the pandemic, the city of Nottingham has once again been awarded Purple Flag status, a prestigious award that it has held since 2010.

Purple Flag – similar to the Blue Flag for beaches – is an international award to raise the standards and broaden the appeal of town and city centres from early evening until late.

Purple Flag is an accreditation process run by the Association of Town and City Management (ATCM) and is the benchmark for good night time destinations. Areas awarded with a Purple Flag are recognised for providing a diverse and vibrant mix of dining, entertainment and culture while promoting the safety and well-being of visitors and local residents. Or, to put it more simply, Purple Flag status indicates where to go for a  safe and enjoyable night out! And this means not just for pubs and clubs but for a wide range of activities including arts and culture, leisure, eating out and events.

Reinvigorated over the last few years by the ATCM, there are now 70 Purple Flag towns and cities and the positive response both by place managers, local businesses and venues, and the
public is testament to the difference that this great initiative can make. Accreditation is based on a number of core criteria:

  • the overall wellbeing of the place – whether it is welcoming, caring, clean and safe; 
  • accessibility and movement in terms of safe and affordable public transport, secure late night parking, clear and safe pedestrian routes, crowd management, access to information and partnership working; 
  • its appeal with regards to having a good mix of early evening activities as well as a good choice of dining venues, well-managed pubs and bars that offer more than just alcoholic beverages, a late-night offer that compliments the diverse appeal of the city as well as a strong arts and cultural offering; 
  • the place – the location of venues and having a strong mix of chains and independents to create diversity; attractive public spaces and good signage to create a stimulating destination;
  • having clear policies, aims and a strategy for delivering these.

In Nottingham the Purple Flag partnership is a group or organisations, including Nottingham BID, who are the main driving force behind the city securing Purple Flag accreditation, the Nottinghamshire Police and Nottingham City Council who work all year around developing and updating initiatives and schemes with the aim to attract a greater number of visitors into the city centre at night and to reduce any negative perceptions about Nottingham city centre.

Nottingham BID’s approach to the management of the evening and night-time economy, which is what Purple Flag accreditation acknowledges, was noted upon with safety issues adequately addressed and forward planning well demonstrated in a positive approach.

There are a number of activities that Nottingham BID spearheads that help the city achieve Purple Flag status.

One of these is Best Bar None – a national scheme backed by the Home Office that provides accreditation to licensed premises that are well managed and operated. Nottingham holds the national record for most accredited venues with 116 bars, pubs, clubs and restaurants receiving accreditation in 2019. The scheme encourages late night venues in the city to constantly create new and innovative ways of creating a safe environment to be enjoyed by the public when visiting the venue.

In conjunction with Nottinghamshire’s Police and Crime Commissioner, Nottingham BID also funds the Street Pastors who provide on-street support in the city centre on a Friday and Saturday night, helping to look after people who have become vulnerable on a night out in the city.

Another is Safe Space, which are accessible points around the city centre where people can go if they are feeling vulnerable, experiencing an emergency or simply having a bad time on a night out and need somewhere safe to go to collect themselves. There are currently three safe spaces in the city where people can go and these are located at McDonalds (Clumber Street), Propaganda NightClub on Broadway and The Malt Cross on St James’s Street. 

In addition Nottingham BID operates a radio link scheme enabling businesses in the city centre to share information about what is happening in the city centre.

“We are delighted that Nottingham has once again received Purple Flag status – it is an important accreditation to have as it gives national recognition that Nottingham city centre is well managed in relation to cleanliness and safety as well as having a diverse range of venues for a great night out,” said Richard Johal, a director of Nottingham BID. “This is more important than ever after the year we have all suffered and receiving the award should help to encourage people to come back into the city in the evening, particularly to enjoy the many wonderful restaurants, bars, pubs and entertainment venues that we have.”

Councillor Rebecca Langton, Portfolio Holder for Skills, Growth and Economic Development for Nottingham City Council, said: “I’m pleased that we’ve secured Purple Flag status again. It is great to see Nottingham recognised for what people in Nottingham know: our city centre is a safe, fun, and well looked after place to spend time.

“People visiting the city centre can enjoy themselves thanks to all the hard work done in the background. This is an enormous boost for our hospitality industry who have shown great determination to keep going in one of the most difficult times any of us have ever known, and for our partners at Nottingham BID, Nottinghamshire Police and our Street Pastor teams who put so much effort in to making Nottingham such a welcoming destination. We’ve started to see things return to a smaller scale version of normality as we exit the pandemic and it’s encouraging to know that as we continue to safely come out of what has been a turbulent time that Nottingham remains a popular and enjoyable destination.” 

Chief Inspector Kathryn Craner of Nottinghamshire Police, who covers Nottingham city centre, said: “We are really pleased that Nottingham has continued to hold Purple Flag status.

“It is great reflection of all the hard work put in by partners across the city to ensure that people feel safe on a night out. We work closely with Nottingham BID and Nottingham City Council to address any concerns from the community in the city quickly and appropriately and that positive working relationship is something that we are really proud of.

“As restrictions relax and people start to socialise in the city centre again, it is really reassuring for the public to know that they can enjoy themselves in a safe environment. However, when issues do arise, the police are there for them and will listen to concerns with a view to taking action where appropriate.”