Guildford has recently been awarded with the nationally recognised Purple Flag accreditation by The Association of Town Centre Management for its excellent town centre management and night-time economy. Assessors look for high safety standards, good transport links and a wide range of evening activities to offer a welcoming environment for a great night out.
Assessors recognised the town centre as a safe, vibrant area which offers a great night out for all and is thanks to a close partnership between the Council, Experience Guildford, Surrey Police, Guildford Pubwatch and local voluntary groups such as Guildford Street Angels.
The town was assessed on five categories; wellbeing, movement, policy, appeal and place. Assessors wanted to know how safety issues are addressed, how crowds are managed, how public transport works and how local data is collected and used. On top of this they assess the layout and design of the city centre and the general appeal of the town, such as the choice of bars, restaurants, shops and activities on offer.
Lead Councillor for Economic Development, Cllr Gordon Jackson has said, “This is excellent news for our town centre and for everyone who’s worked so hard to achieve the coveted Purple Flag. With over 100 places to eat, drink and socialise, Guildford town centre welcomes thousands of visitors every weekend to enjoy what the town has to offer. The mix of bars, restaurants, theatres and live music venues means there is something for everyone to enjoy on a night out in Guildford. We work closely with our partners, Surrey Police, Experience Guildford and Pubwatch to offer a safe environment for everyone to enjoy their night and get home safely.”
Stuart Craggs, Night-time Economy Manager at Experience Guildford, the town’s Business Improvement District says, “This is such a tremendous achievement for the town and one that key partners and individual businesses should be proud of. This award demonstrates how we can all work together to benefit the town as a whole and recognises the importance that Guildford’s night time economy has on the vibrancy of the borough. We’ve worked hard to do things right, make a difference and ensure that Guildford continues to be known not just as a great venue for a fun night out, but a safe one as well.”
The award adds to previous town centre initiatives that have focused on improving Guildford’s night time economy. Behave Or Be Banned was introduced by Experience Guildford, in partnership with Guildford Pubwatch and Surrey Police in 2013 and has resulted in a 25% reduction in reported alcohol related anti-social behaviour. The first Best Bar None awards were presented in February 2014 by Experience Guildford, recognising and rewarding venues that demonstrate best practice. Plus Experience Guildford’s funded taxi marshals have done much to reduce disturbances at taxi ranks during weekends.