It is official – Luton town centre boasts an ‘entertaining’, ‘diverse’, ‘safe’ and ‘enjoyable’ nightlife.
Judges from the Association of Town and City Management (ATCM) have just awarded Luton town centre ‘Purple Flag’ status – a sought after accreditation for towns and cities that provide a vibrant mix of dining, entertainment and culture, while promoting the safety and wellbeing of visitors and residents.
Luton is now one of over 70 town and city centres in the UK and Ireland with the award, which is comparable to the ‘Green Flag’ for parks and ‘Blue Flag’ for beaches.
The assessment by ATCM judges on 7th April included a tour of the town centre and key businesses, including The Mall Luton, The Galaxy Centre, University of Bedfordshire Student Union, The Red Lion, The Bear Club and G Casino. Presentations by Luton Borough Council, Bedfordshire Police, Noah Enterprise, Luton SAFE and Luton Business Improvement District (BID) focused on safety initiatives, police presence and enforcement, art, music and cultural offer and cleanliness campaigns.
Roy Greening, BID director and general manager of The Mall said: “Receiving Purple Flag status for our town centre’s evening and night time offer is a massive boost and we are absolutely thrilled with the outcome. Achieving this accreditation is a result of many months of hard work by key town centre organisations and businesses, all working together to prove how our town meets stringent standards of excellence in areas like the safety and wellbeing of visitors.
“We will be flying our Purple Flag with pride so that members of the public can recognise Luton for its excellent evening economy offer, but we appreciate there is still work to be done. We intend to work hard to get even better still and there are lots of projects in the pipeline to improve safety and choice.”
Cllr Hazel Simmons MBE, Leader of Luton Borough Council said: “This is excellent news for the town. We’ve demonstrated that we offer a varied choice of leisure and entertainment for a diversity of ages, groups, lifestyles and cultures, both during the day and at night, and we’ve shown that residents can get home safely after an evening out.
“Our strength in this process was showcasing the level of partnership working across the town, and how the Council, Luton BID, Luton SAFE, Bedfordshire Police, the University, The Mall and The Galaxy are all equally invested in the providing a safe, vibrant and diverse environment that residents can enjoy.”
The town centre tour by ATCM judges also included a visit to Desert Rose – one of Luton’s popular non-alcoholic restaurants, visits to the town’s diverse live music venues, an Operation Nightsafe briefing, a demonstration of the Councils CCTV, and visit to Luton Culture’s Storefront. Keep Luton Tidy and Keep Luton Safe campaigns were also showcased as part of the assessment.
Gabi McKeown BID director, Chair of Luton SAFE and landlord of the Brewery Tap said: “As a pub landlord I am overjoyed and immensely proud of this achievement. Luton town centre at night time is not as bad as people might think, and being accredited with Purple Flag is a chance to highlight all of the great projects and developments that are going on so that Luton has a safe night time economy.”
Diane Quick, BID director and centre manager of The Galaxy Centre added: “It is fantastic that Luton has been awarded the Purple Flag accreditation. This is great news for Luton’s night time economy and proves that we are on the way to making the town centre a vibrant, diverse and safe place to be. It was a pleasure to be involved with the plan and it definitely shows how well key town centre organisations collaborate to make things happen.”
Cllr Rachel Hopkins, Portfolio Holder for Public Health, said,: “Luton’s arts, cultural and creative offer was a big part of the assessment, demonstrating how exciting, large-scale events such as the Arts Council-funded Imagine Luton and Luton Culture’s new Hat District developments are transforming the night time offer here in Luton.”
The Purple Flag programme is managed by ATCM which works alongside a partnership of key stakeholder groups backed by Government, police and businesses.
The Purple Flag application was funded by the BID and jointly prepared by all partners with Luton town centre BID and Luton Borough Council leading. It demonstrates a commitment to ensuring Luton town centre is a clean and safe place for people to enjoy and come together, which is part of Luton Borough Council’s 1.5 billion Luton Investment Framework.