Chester’s Purple Flag status has been renewed acknowledging its flourishing night-time economy and safe environment during both the day and night.
Chester first achieved Purple Flag status in 2018, a recognition of UK towns and cities that offer an ‘entertaining, diverse, safe and enjoyable night out’.
Established in 2012, the Purple Flag programme is managed by the Association of Town and City Management (ATCM) and is similar to the Blue Flag award for beaches, but instead aims to raise standards and broaden the appeal of night-time and evening economies within towns and city centres across the UK.
Purple Flag has been important for towns and cities holding the accreditation during lockdown as well as being instrumental in the reopening policies and strategies with key stakeholders as towns and cities adjust to the new way of life with the pandemic.
Councillor Karen Shore, Cabinet Member for Environment, Highways & Strategic Transport said, “Chester continues to be a must-see city, and winner of the i-travel Staycation of the year award last year. Our visitor numbers have been slowly returning to pre-pandemic numbers, in fact footfall in Northgate Street was 12.3 per cent higher in November and 3.2 per cent higher in December last year compared with before the pandemic, in November and December 2019. In the past twelve months, footfall in the city centre rose to over 13.7 million which was a 23.2 per cent increase on 2020 figures.
“Confidence in the city can be seen with the number of new independent businesses opening and the increasing capacity for hotel accommodation. Maintaining a safe and welcoming city centre goes hand in hand with making sure the city recovers from the pandemic and the high street continues to re-invent itself.”
Early evening activity has continued to improve thanks to alfresco dining. Many bars and restaurants using this into the early evening, creating a fantastic atmosphere helping to bridge the gap between daytime and night-time economy. There are 68 businesses across the City holding an alfresco license, with free license renewal until September 2022.
Chester BID Manager, Carl Critchlow, said, “Chester offers a rich mix of dining, entertainment and culture for residents that supports jobs, and continues to attract visitors to our city. Maintaining our Purple Flag status is the ongoing confirmation that we are a safe place to enjoy day and night.
“Thanks to all of our venues and partners for their hard work in the background that results in this award each year. “
The Eastgate Clock, Chester Town Hall, and Newgate will be lit purple this weekend (Friday 25 to Sunday 27 February) in celebration of the city retaining its Purple Flag status.
Keeping the city safe is a partnership between Cheshire West and Chester Council, the Chester BID, Cheshire Police, Chester Against Business Crime, Pubwatch, the University of Chester, Chester Residents’ Associations Group, and several third sector groups. Purple Flag has worked alongside Cheshire Police Community Safety to support various night-time safety operations.