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Purple Flag retention joy for Swansea city centre

SWANSEA city centre has successfully retained prestigious Purple Flag status for 2017.

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Run by the Association of Town and City Management (ATCM), Purple Flag status rewards city centres where visitors can expect an entertaining, diverse, safe and enjoyable night out.

Swansea city centre was first awarded the status in 2015 in recognition of the excellence of its evening and night-time economy between 5pm and 5am. 

In granting the retention of the status for 2017, independent assessors, who visited the city centre earlier this year, said Swansea has one of the strongest and best supported evening and night-time economy partnerships they've ever seen. 

Retention of the status, they say, is well-deserved because of so many examples of best practice.

Partners involved in the management of Swansea's evening and night-time economy include Swansea Council, Swansea BID (Business Improvement District), South Wales Police, Swansea Street Pastors, St Johns Ambulance, Swansea International Festival, Swansea University, University of Wales Trinity Saint David, Swansea Taxi Owners Association, many city centre businesses, First Cymru, Abertawe Bro Morgannwg University Health Board, Mid and West Wales Fire and Rescue Service, Coastal Housing and several local developers.

Cllr Mark Child,  Swansea Council's Cabinet Member for Health and Wellbeing, said: "It's extremely pleasing to have retained prestigious Purple Flag for another year because it's an indication of all the hard work that takes place to make the city centre evening and night-time visiting experience as vibrant, safe, diverse and enjoyable as possible.

"Despite consecutively winning the status in 2015 and 2016, we're determined not to rest on our laurels, which is why a specific group was set up after last year's success, bringing all partners together with a focus not just on retaining the status for 2017, but also on developing a strategy for the continuous improvement of Swansea city centre's evening and night-time economy.

"All partners involved deserve huge credit, with the independent assessors describing the level of partnership commitment in Swansea city centre as unprecedented, while also praising the promotion of our Purple Flag status as a benchmark for others to follow. 

"Building on the success of schemes including the city centre's help point, drop-off point and taxi marshals, further improvements have been made over the last year, helping the independent assessors conclude that they had no hesitation in recommending the renewal of Swansea's Purple Flag status."

Examples of city centre improvements introduced over the last 12 months include the introduction of LED lighting technology, the installation of more directional signs for pedestrians, the removal of unattractive street furniture, the completion of painting works and the installation of colour change lighting in Castle Square. Transport schemes like the Unibus late-night bus service for students have also been introduced.

South Wales Police Chief Inspector Chris Truscott said: "I am delighted we have retained the Purple Flag for the third consecutive time, which is a notable achievement for Swansea and its vibrant night-time economy.

"Along with our partners, we have worked very hard to ensure our Purple Flag status continues - and we are proud of the work that goes on behind the scenes to keep people safe.

"All night-time economies have their challenges, but thanks to activities and initiatives such as street pastors, the help point and the student university team, we are well-equipped to make Swansea a great place to enjoy a fun and safe night out." 

Russell Greenslade, Swansea BID Chief Executive, said: "I'm delighted that Swansea has retained the coveted Purple Flag status in 2017. There is so much good work being done, day in and day out, to ensure the continued vibrancy and resilience of Swansea's night-time economy. And there is a real 'can-do' attitude among all of those involved in managing and delivering great results in this area, which I am very proud to see.

"The health of any city's night-time economy is a real indicator of wider issues. The success of a night-time economy says a lot about the vibrancy of the local economy as a whole and, importantly, it is a very accurate indicator of the mood of its residents. And it is irrefutable that there is a tangible sense of optimism about the economic future of Swansea, thanks to the signing of the City Deal and Swansea's bid for the UK City of Culture 2021."

Other areas where Swansea city centre was praised by the independent assessors included the diversity of the evening and night-time visiting experience, with businesses like Las Iguanas, Cinema and Co, Copper and Five Guys all recently opening.

The on-going regeneration of High Street was also praised, as well as the success of the city centre's street cleansing operation and a positive and approachable style of policing. 

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