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14 July 2012, 09:32 | Updated: 14 July 2012, 09:42
Ipswich has officially awarded Purple Flag status by the Association of Town Centre Management at an awards ceremony.
Along with Sheffield, Watford, Southend, Lincoln and Aberystwyth, Ipswich has been formally recognised as being one of the 31 towns and cities that have met the high standards required to be recognised as a Purple Flag holder.
Backed by Ipswich Borough Council, Ipswich Central, Suffolk Constabulary, Suffolk County Council, Best Bar None, and Barwatch, the Ipswich submission had to prove that the town is welcoming to all visitors and provide a diverse mix of leisure and entertainment facilities, restaurants and bars which accommodate people of all ages. It also had to demonstrate that safe ways for visitors to travel home after a night out are offered.
With statistics such as the fact that crime has been reduced by 12% in the last five years, along with the additional street cleaning implemented by Ipswich Central to complement the work done by Ipswich Borough Council, and numerous cultural projects that take place throughout the year - coupled with future plans such as 'Ipswich - Transport Fit for the 21st Century' the submission demonstrated that Ipswich is a welcome and inviting town.
Purple Flag recognises excellence in the management of town and city centres at night, and is an indicator of where to go for a good night out. Applicants must show they are committed to the wellbeing of patrons, safe movement through the centre of town, offer a vibrant choice of leisure and entertainment for a diversity of ages and lifestyles, and have a strong city character, identity and imagination in urban design.
Suffolk's County Policing Commander Chief Superintendent David Skevington said: "We are absolutely delighted with the news that Ipswich has gained the Purple Flag. This is a prestigious national award and reflects the hard work and determination of all those involved in making our county town a great place to live in, work in and visit. Together, we have demonstrated to the assessors that we meet and, in some cases, exceed their standards.
From a policing point of view, I am particularly pleased that we were above the standard for safety, which underlines how Ipswich is a safe place to enjoy a night out. And I am delighted that the strength of our partnership working has been similarly recognised, having spent more than four years on a number of joint initiatives, such as the Best Bar None and Street Pastor schemes, which have helped improve the town centre at night. Receiving the Purple Flag is a major boost for Ipswich and I am proud that our town is now nationally recognised as a great place to have a safe and enjoyable night out."
Paul Clement, Chief Executive of Ipswich Central said: "It is fantastic that Ipswich has been recognised for the hard work that we all contribute to making our town centre a welcoming and safe environment. However, we will not be resting on our laurels and we appreciate that continued improvements need to be made in various areas. Part of the Purple Flag accreditation is identifying future developments that will be taken into consideration and we will be looking into these in much more detail over the coming months."
Lorraine Arthur, Community Safety Officer at Ipswich Borough Council, said: "Schemes such as Town Pastors, Street Rangers, Best Bar None and events such as Maritime and Ip-art have all played a crucial role in our success. The Purple Flag accreditation demonstrates that Ipswich is a entertaining, diverse, safe and enjoyable night out and we?re delighted that the Purple Flag will be flying over the Town Hall from now on."
To celebrate the Ipswich Purple Flag status, there will be an Ipswich Purple Flag week - running from Saturday 22n - Sunday 30th September. This is designed to highlight the town's retained purple flag status, which means Ipswich is deemed to be a safe, clean and varied place to visit at night.
There will be special offers from bars and restaurants, retail offerings will be open later than normal and live music on the Cornhill. There will be confirmed plans and timings announced nearer the time.
The national Purple Flag initiative is led by the Association of Town Centre Management (ATCM), alongside supporters including Diageo GB, the Home Office, Association of Chief Police Officers, Local Government Regulation and many other high profile national bodies, who all contribute to industry wide commitment to this important initiative.