Kettering town centre has been given a Purple Flag award for its work to make the town a safe and vibrant place to visit at night.
The award - similar to the Green Flag for Parks and Green Spaces and the Blue Flag for beaches - was presented to Kettering at an awards ceremony in Leeds on July 2.
The Purple Flag award shows the fruits of a lot of hard work that has taken place to improve the night-time experience for visitors to KetteringJamie Lane
The Purple Flag Scheme recognises excellence in managing a thriving, safe and vibrant evening economy in the town centre.
It assesses a wide range of factors including visitor attractions, things to do, levels of lighting, the clarity of signage, the level of crime and cleanliness standards.
Kettering was awarded the Purple Flag after assessors from Association of Town Centre Management (ATCM) visited the town centre and experienced first-hand the night-time offering.
The assessment team was shown the facilities on offer for the evening visitor, including restaurants and theatres as well as the pubs and clubs.
They also undertook research about Kettering town centre and interviewed various people as part of their overnight inspection.
Achieving accreditation is more than a one-off prize as standards need to be upheld and maintained in order to retain the Purple Flag status.
Cllr James Burton, Kettering Council’s portfolio holder for regeneration, said: “I am delighted that our town centre has been recognised as a welcoming and well managed place to visit in the evening.
“The Purple Flag award means we are highlighted nationally as a town to visit.
“I hope it will encourage more people to make even more use of the facilities offered by the Kettering town centre in the evenings.
“This is a huge achievement for a Market Town to be presented with such an award and would not have been possible without the help of local businesses, Street Pastors, Kettering Police Force and Pubwatch.”
Northamptonshire’s police and crime commissioner, Adam Simmonds, said: “Purple Flag is a prestigious award that recognises excellence in town centre management and forms a valuable contribution to making Northamptonshire the safest place in the country.
“This is recognition of the enormous amount of work and effort which has gone into securing the award, and proves what can be achieved when people work hard together.
“The people of Kettering have demonstrated how our town centres can be attractive, safe places which more people will want to visit and enjoy.”
Neil Griffin, manager of the Newlands Shopping Centre, said: “It’s wonderful to see Kettering town centre receive national recognition with the Purple Flag for offering an excellent night-time economy.
“These latest measures demonstrate that Kettering is continuing to develop and improve.
“Kettering is without doubt gathering momentum.
“If you haven’t been into town recently, why not come in and have a look?”
Jamie Lane, chairman of Kettering Pubwatch, said: “We want more people to come into Kettering town centre at night to have an enjoyable evening and to relax and feel safe.
“The Purple Flag award shows the fruits of a lot of hard work that has taken place to improve the night time experience for visitors to Kettering.“
The Purple Flag initiative was developed by a team of industry experts in 2003 and is an accreditation process that helps tackle prominent issues associated with night-time economy.
The initiative aims to improve perceptions of places, address imbalances in activities, tackle anti-social behaviour and encourage a diverse evening offer.
The announcement for Kettering follows a number of recent improvements to the town’s night time economy including a number of new bars and restaurants added to the local night time offer, a town centre Dynamic Emergency Care Centre (DECC) was set up during peak periods such as New Year’s Eve and major events such as the World Cup, Kettering Street Pastors have continued to patrol the streets on Saturday nights for more than three years and there is new lighting, updated signs and clearer alleyways to make the town centre safer.
In November, a new weekend Nightsafe patrol plan was rolled out to increase police flexibility in dealing with venues open at certain time, a number of new businesses have signed up to Kettering’s Community Toilet Scheme and Kettering has supported Dry January for the previous two years throughout the borough as part of a wider national scheme.