Chester city centre has been awarded the coveted ‘Purple Flag’ status in recognition of its flourishing night time economy.
As part of a 12-month campaign, assessors visited Chester in 2017 to evaluate the city centre against a series of core themes, including wellbeing, movement, broad appeal and destination.
Chester passed with flying colours, with judges describing it as a "clean, welcoming and vibrant city with an abundance of evidence of its historic past", whilst also recognising the "diverse range of options for families, young people and adults available during the day and night time economy."
The campaign for Purple Flag status was driven by CH1ChesterBID – Chester’s Business Improvement District (BID) – in partnership with Cheshire West and Chester Council and other organisations, including Cheshire Police, Chester Pubwatch, the University of Chester, and several third sector groups.
“The safety of residents across Cheshire is a major priority for all of us at Cheshire Police,” said Cheshire police and crime commissioner, David Keane.
“And this is worthy recognition of the incredible strides we have made as a force, and as a group of organisations working together, to make Chester as well as other towns and villages safer and more secure for residents, families and city visitors.
“It’s important we continue to find ways to reduce crime and anti-social behaviour across the county, so our work doesn’t stop here.”
In recognition of the achievement, Chester was chosen to host the national Purple Flag presentation ceremony, with leaders from other towns and cities including Aberdeen, Bath, Canterbury, Liverpool and Nottingham attending a glittering awards ceremony at Chester Cathedral to collect their accreditations.
Key landmarks across the city have also been illuminated purple in celebration. Chester Cathedral was lit up purple for the presentation night, and Chester Town Hall, the Eastgate Clock and the Chapel on the University of Chester’s Parkgate Campus are set to stay purple over the next few days.
Carl Critchlow, BID manager at CH1ChesterBID, said: "This is a fantastic achievement for Chester city centre and we're immensely proud to have successfully driven the bid for Purple Flag status.
“A lot of hard work has gone on behind the scenes to make this possible and the award is testament to the efforts of so many individuals, organisations and businesses who work hard every day to ensure visitors to Chester can experience 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.
In the official report, Purple Flag assessors highlighted the positive impact of Storyhouse, commenting on "the range of facilities it provides for visitors, including theatre, cinema, art and library facilities available for all ages to enjoy."
There was additional praise for safety standards across the city, with assessors noting that "visible policing was present throughout the assessment, including officers on foot patrol and in police vehicles".