To quote from ATCM (Association of Town and City Management ) “Purple Flag” is an accreditation process similar to the Green Flag award for parks and the Blue Flag for beaches. It leads to Purple Flag status for town & city centres that meet or surpass the standards of excellence in managing the evening and night time economy (ENTE). Clearly, there would be major benefits for Weymouth joining the accreditation scheme.ATCM Purple Flag logo

The Purple Flag scheme includes application, assessment, performance and accreditation stages, each led by the local stakeholders and monitored and accredited by ATCM (https://www.atcm.org/programmes/purple_flag/apply_for_purple_flag/going-for-purple-flag-faq). The basic cost for Weymouth would be of the order of £2400, then £800 to £1000 for succeeding years. There would also be ongoing manpower and resource costs associated with developing and sustaining the application plan and bringing about the town nightlife improvements called for. However, considering Weymouth’s tourism income approaches £120million per year, even a small percentage increase in visits due to perceived improvements would bring major financial and tourism gains.

We (Aaran Guesthouse) were delighted to be invited to this morning’s meeting at Weymouth and Portland’s Borough Council offices, as representatives of the accommodation-providers stakeholder group, specifically as a Committee member of WHGLA – our local hoteliers association (www.whgla.org.uk). It was great to meet with, for example, the Chairman of Weymouth BID, heads of waste management, tourism, leisure, planning and licensing plus our local Police Chief Inspector, to exchange ideas and work on preliminary exercises to formulate a plan to take forward.

The meeting was positive and we contributed suggestions, including later opening for shops, street “ambassadors” to welcome visitors and act as watchers, backup for street pastors and liaison with door staff and Police, floodlighting the Beach to enable nighttime sporting and leisure activities, cleaner/brighter streets with more going on and a wider spectrum of attractions, among others. We hope these and the many other suggestions will be taken up and ultimately lead to the internationally recognised award of “Purple Flag” status, so visitors can continue to feel safe and enjoy more nighttime visits in the future.

About Jim Groves

Current qualifications BSc, MSc (+prize), PhD, GRSC, CCol, ASDC, IEng, MIET (previous now retired - MIM, MIMF, MICorr, ATSC, CChem, CSci, MRSC, MAOC, MCEA, recently retired from WHGLA as Committee Member and IT Manager.)