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Guildford – Still the only town in Surrey with a Purple Flag!

19th September 2019

For the sixth year in a row Guildford town centre has been recognised by the Purple Flag assessors for providing evenings and nights out that are safe, vibrant and varied. It remains the only town in the county and one of around 70 in the UK to hold the award.

The Guildford Town Purple Flag Partnership Group (GTPFP) is led by Guildford Borough Council and Experience Guildford (the town’s Business Improvement District), includes a broad range of town and county organisations including Surrey Police, the Safer Guildford Partnership, Street Angels and Guildford Pub Watch.

The Purple Flag accreditation is similar to Blue Flag for beaches or Green Flags for parks (for which this year we have 10, the most in the South East). It’s a mark the public can trust when choosing where to visit. Purple flag for nights out, Blue for seasides and Green for parks and countrysides.

Cllr David Goodwin, Lead Councillor for Licensing, Parking, Refuse and Recycling, says: ‘We are delighted to receive this prestigious award for the sixth year in a row. It means we are not only recognised as one of the safest but also one of the most thriving towns in Surrey. The evening and night-time economy makes a significant contribution to the borough’s total local economy of £5.5bn per year. I’d like to thank everyone involved in the Purple Flag partnership and beyond for their hard work and dedication.’

‘The Purple Flag is key in promoting our exciting historic town, ensuring visitors and residents continue to choose Guildford. Ensuring our town centre bars and restaurants are a safe, vibrant places to visit in the evening is a fundamental part of being awarded the acclaimed Purple Flag.’

He added: ‘Safety is a large part of the assessment and we have put a variety of initiatives in place. We have a night bus running six days a week. 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. We also have 500 taxi drivers that have completed a BTEC qualification in taxi driving and safe guarding awareness.’

The first Best Bar None awards were launched in February 2014 by Experience Guildford, recognising and rewarding venues that demonstrate best practice investing in staff training and security. The Taxi Marshal initiative has resulted in 70% reduction in alcohol-related incidents at the taxi rank since 2013.

Amanda Masters, Chief Executive Officer at Experience Guildford agreed: ‘It’s an amazing achievement to be awarded the Purple Flag again and it will have a positive impact on the town’s existing reputation as one of the top destinations in the South East. With over 100 places to eat, three theatres, three shopping centres and one cinema, Guildford comes alive after 5pm and caters for all ages and tastes. For example last year over 1,500 live theatre and music events took place in the town. Purple Flag is the brand customers can have confidence in when choosing a night out. It also increases the town’s appeal for current and potential businesses moving into the borough.’

She added: ‘We run an annual survey to ask residents, visitors, students and businesses what they think of going out in Guildford in the evening and 90% confirmed they feel safe in the town at night.’

Purple Flag launched in 2012 and is run by The Association of Town Centre Management.