Sudbury: Purple flag award could boost town’s night-time economy

L-R: Jan Osborne, Adrian Osborne and Jacqui Howells are pictured with an award for work with young p

L-R: Jan Osborne, Adrian Osborne and Jacqui Howells are pictured with an award for work with young people in Sudbury. - Credit: Archant

Councillors in Sudbury are keen to acquire an award that could boost the town’s night-time economy.

Members of the town’s leisure and environment committee want to explore the possibility of going for Purple Flag accreditation, which recognises good management of town and city centres at night.

Similar to Blue Flag status, which is used as an indicator of a good beach, Purple Flag towns are recognised as places to go to enjoy a good, safe night out.

The accreditation scheme is run by the Association of Town and City Management.

In July 2012, Ipswich was awarded Purple Flag status, which was renewed this year.

Town councillor Jan Osborne, who is behind Sudbury’s bid, said: “As far as I am aware, there are no other towns the size of Sudbury that have Purple Flag status so we would be trailblazers if we got it.

“It’s not just about shops being open but it is also about pubs, restaurants and theatres. It would also raise the profile of the town.

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“If people perceive it’s a safe place to visit in the evenings, then it will increase footfall to the town.”

Her colleague Lesley Ford Platt agreed, adding: “It acknowledges that a town is worth coming to in the evenings and that can only be a good thing for our economy.”

Sudbury has already introduced Pubwatch and Streetwatch schemes to create a safer night-time environment in the town.

Committee member Nigel Bennett said he had never heard of Purple Flag status before the meeting so he had doubts as to whether it would raise the profile of the town.

He added: “I’m not sure I can see the benefit of it to ordinary people. We don’t have a problem in Sudbury with our night-time economy.

“For somewhere like Ipswich I can see the point because it is a symbol that they have sorted out the problems they have had in the past.”

But councillor Peter Gray said the idea was worth exploring further. He added: “Some people might be put off coming to a town at night if they perceive it is unsafe so anything that changes that perception is a good thing.”