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10th Purple Flag in a row for Chelmsford’s night-time economy

River View Of Bond Street

Chelmsford has been awarded a Purple Flag for the tenth consecutive year. The internationally recognised scheme found that the city has again demonstrated excellence in managing its evening and night-time economy. 

Purple Flag recognises entertainment, culture and safety

Like the 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.  

Areas given a Purple Flag are recognised for providing a vibrant and diverse mix of dining, entertainment and culture while promoting the safety and wellbeing of visitors and residents.

Investment and new businesses part of Chelmsford’s submission

The ‘after dark’ economy is worth more than £66bn to the UK each year and evidence of investment and a destination’s ability to attract new businesses plays an important part in any Purple Flag application.  

This year, Chelmsford City Council’s transformation of Chelmsford Theatre, which included the refurbishment of the tired venue’s bars and front-of-house spaces and improvements to the customer experience, formed part of the city’s successful submission. 

The arrival of new restaurants and bars despite the challenging national economic outlook, such as Fridays, Popeyes and Boom Battle Bar also played a role in securing the award. 

City collaborations also considered

Effective collaboration between partners is considered as part of any Purple Flag entry and projects like Gaia at Chelmsford Cathedral and Chelmsford For You’s street art festival Concrete Canvas showed organisations right across Chelmsford coming together. 

Other graffiti art projects in the city’s underpasses and improved skate park facilities were also taken into consideration, along with Chelmsford City Council’s 17 Green Flag parks and green spaces. 

Women’s Safety Charter included 

Demonstrating that a place is striving to be a safe destination for a night out is another crucial factor in securing a Purple Flag. This year, the city introduced a new Women’s Safety Charter as part of a wider campaign to tackle violence against women and girls at any time of the day or night in Chelmsford.  

The project, which is a collaboration between Chelmsford City Council, Chelmsford’s BID and gender equality consultant Karen Whybro, offers training for businesses and organisations that sign up to be a safe space for women. The charter is also part of a wider programme calling for cultural change to recognise behaviours that make women feel unsafe.

Womens Safety Poster

Range of safety measures secured award

A comprehensive list of other safety measures also helped to secure the award. This included high-quality CCTV in Chelmsford, an effective community safety hub and the city’s Pubwatch scheme for licensed premises. The presence of taxi marshals, street pastors and the highly regarded SOS bus delivered by Open Road also helped to ensure that Purple Flag status for Chelmsford continues.  

Safety measures built into the city’s public spaces, such as the inclusion of counter terrorism features as part of the Tindal Square improvement works, further reinforced Chelmsford’s commitment to visitor safety. 

Councillor Rose Moore, Chelmsford City Council’s Cabinet Member for Greener and Safer Chelmsford says receiving a Purple Flag this and every year for the last decade is a great achievement for the city. 

We want everyone in Chelmsford to feel safe, welcome and entertained on a night out in our city. This award shows the sustained commitment of the council and our many partners to ensure that we’re a recognised destination that can delight after dark.

As the scheme’s organisers explain, vibrant and safe night-time economies don’t happen by accident. They’re the product of partnerships, planning and innovation at every level to create a thriving evening environment for all visitors. I’m proud that with a new Women’s Safety Charter and a much-improved theatre we’ve given Purple Flag assessors even more reasons to renew Chelmsford’s accreditation as we receive the award for the tenth time in a row.

Cllr Rose Moore, Cabinet Member for Greener and Safer Chelmsford

Sara Tupper, Chelmsford’s BID Manager says the award is a testament to effective partnership working. 

Chelmsford For You BID is delighted that the city has received its Purple Flag status for another year. A perfect example of so many organisations and authorities working together in partnership to drive the city forward while prioritising the safety of our residents and visitors.

With many exciting plans in place for 2023 I’m confident Chelmsford will continue to deliver and improve as a city of excellence, this year and beyond.

Sara Tupper, BID Manager

Find out more about Purple Flag

The Purple Flag programme was developed following the Civic Trust’s “Night Vision” report in 2006 and is now managed by the Association of Town and City Management. Find out more about the Purple Flag Scheme.  

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Molly Smith
Molly Smith

Molly writes stories about public health, community safety, leisure, community sport, parking and Chelmsford Market.