Luton town centre flies the Purple Flag for a fourth year
Luton town centre flies the Purple Flag for fourth year
24th May 2023
Luton town centre has been awarded the prestigious ‘Purple Flag’ accreditation for a fourth year for its evening and night-time economy.
Luton can celebrate the news of a renewed Purple Flag status; Purple Flag is an international accreditation awarded to towns and cities for their excellent night-time economy. Like ‘Green Flag’ for parks and ‘Blue Flag’ for beaches, Purple Flag aims to raise the standard and broaden the appeal of town and city centres between the hours of 5pm and 5am.
Having first been awarded Purple Flag in 2018, Luton has been flying their flag high ever since. The annual award, made by the National Association of Town Centre Management, assesses areas which provide a vibrant and diverse array of entertainment & culture, whilst promoting the safety and wellbeing of visitors and residents.
Luton Business Improvement District (BID) funded the Purple Flag application and worked in partnership with Luton Borough Council in a joint-led approach to manage the accreditation process.
Through a comprehensive set of standards, Luton BID worked with Luton Council to ensure that different aspects of Luton Town Centre’s offering were presented to the judges.
Judges from the Association of Town and City Management (ATCM) praised Luton’s submission, highlighting Public Realm Premises licences, the transformation of a car park to a beautiful public space which opened the Lea River, and a committed working group.
Luton Town Centre partners and key stakeholders across Luton work closely all year round to deliver an excellent events calendar, with vibrant food markets (Vegan Food Fest, Chinese New Year) St Patrick’s Parade, About Us, St George’s Day, Jubilee celebrations, East Fest, Pride in Luton, Diwali & Dundu, and Christmas.
The Purple Flag accreditation gave a good opportunity to highlight key areas of interest within the town centre with a new night-time economy map. Download the Luton town centre map here – lutonbid.org/map/
As part of this application, Luton BID also created a video presenting our diverse night-time economy venues, restaurants, and entertainment within the town centre. Watch the video here youtu.be/p2mSTx3WaNY
As a way to continue highlighting the amazing events taking place in the town centre on a weekly basis, Luton BID creates a town centre What’s On in Luton guide. Free to subscribe to and mailed in your inbox every Thursday – lutonbid.org/whats-on-guide/
Licensed venues within Luton meet monthly to discuss initiatives to keep visitors and residents safe and welcomed. On the back of feedback from businesses – Luton BID introduced public realm patrol over the winter months, to read more about this initiative see here – lutonbid.org/press-releases/luton-bid-improves-safety-on-nights-out-this-winter/
Continuing to help keep the town centre clean with Luton BID’s monthly tidy sessions and the MaxVac cleaning machine ensures we are keeping a maintained level of cleanliness from day into night.
Julia Horsman, Luton BID Manager, said: “We are delighted that Luton has been awarded the Purple Flag accreditation as it reflects the hard work the businesses and partners in the Town Centre are doing to encourage visitors to enjoy the evening and night-time economy, whilst keeping people safe. We need to continue to work to address the challenges that businesses and visitors face, and support and build on the offer we have. Our What’s On Guide is a fantastic way to communicate to Luton residents how much goes on in the Town Centre, including live music, comedy shows & theatre productions.”
Cllr James Taylor, portfolio holder for Regeneration and Inclusive Growth at Luton Council said, “We are really pleased to retain our Purple Flag status. It’s evidence of effective partnership working which ensures we have a safe evening and night time environment as well as recognising the variety of places to eat, be entertained and the wonderful events, large and small.
“We do recognise that there are still challenges and we are working together to address these but when we see tangible evidence of improvements that people are enjoying, such as the lovely new pocket park in Bute St with the river running through it, we are genuinely excited”.
Chief Inspector Alex House, from Bedfordshire Police who led Project Firefly, said: “We are working to create a safer environment for women and girls in the county, and as part of that work we are creating a safe space in the night time economy.
“Through Project Firefly we have reshaped the way our officers carry out night time patrols and the tactics we use. Our officers focus on early intervention, spotting those early signs and behaviours of street harassment and challenging them before they can escalate.
“The project also sees ongoing work with partners and licensed premises to educate and empower in order to boost night time economy and keep residents safe, and this is a great opportunity to support the town.”