Vibrant Newcastle town centre lands Purple Flag for night-time offer


Newcastle town centre is a vibrant and safe place to visit for a great night out, according to a prestigious award scheme.

The town centre has been granted the prestigious Purple Flag by the Association of Town and City Management (ATCM) for the fifth year in a row. Like the Green Flag award for parks, the Purple Flag scheme takes a hard look at the early-evening and night-time offer in towns and cities across the country. Areas assessed include the quality of bars, clubs, restaurants, cultural attractions and public buildings, as well as the efforts of organisations to create a safe and welcoming space.

Assessors visited Newcastle town centre on a Saturday in March from 5pm until 2am – and liked what they saw. They commented on the “fresh and vibrant” range of pubs, bars, restaurants and cultural venues which deliver a great evening out in the town centre. The assessors also praised the number of new venues that have opened over the last 12 months as the town’s night-time offer continues to grow. The town centre’s impressive range of independent venues was singled out for particular praise – “Larger, national food and drinks premises are not over-represented across the town,” they said, “giving Newcastle its own distinct feel.”

The report also highlighted the joint efforts of Newcastle-under-Lyme Borough Council, Newcastle Business Improvement District (BID), Staffordshire Police and others to ensure a safe experience for night-time visitors. Taxi marshalling, crowd management, CCTV and the PubWatch scheme were all found to be effective and above the expected standard.

Newcastle-under-Lyme town centre

Amy Williams, Newcastle Business Improvement District manager, said: “Developing a distinctive Newcastle experience is a BID priority, so we’re delighted the assessors were impressed with the range of night-time venues and activities. They were also impressed with the large number of events – like the Lymelight Festival and Jazz and Blues Festival – that contribute so much to the distinctive Newcastle experience. We’re building on this with lots of new events in 2019, including street food nights, outdoor cinema screenings and a professional cycle race, to give people even more reasons to visit and enjoy Newcastle at night.

“And when they’re here, visitors can be confident that we’re all working together to ensure the town centre is safe, welcoming and a great place to spend time with family and friends.”

Cllr. Jill Waring, Cabinet member for community safety and well-being at the borough council, said: “I’m delighted that independent assessors have recognised that Newcastle town centre continues to provide a high quality social experience for families and other groups of people, not just those drinking alcohol. The prestigious Purple Flag is a visible indicator that the early evening and night-time economies are managed to a very high standard – meaning that visitors can expect an enjoyable and safe night out – just like the Green Flags in many of our parks highlight their premium facilities.

“Cleanliness, culture, green spaces, crime levels, lighting, safety, public amenities and buildings were all assessed. The assessor complimented the rich variety of venues – including a strong offer of independents – as well as the wide range of cultural and eating opportunities and £1 after 3pm parking offer. It’s testament to the hard work of the Council, its partners and businesses to continually improve the town centre offer. We will now look to build on what has already been achieved. There is so much to look forward to in the coming months.”

Newcastle Neighbourhood Policing Team (NPT) Deputy Commander, Sgt Jon Gritton, said: “Staffordshire Police worked closely as part of the Community Safety Partnership to prepare for and take part in the assessment day. The awarding of the Purple Flag is a real feather in the town’s cap and demonstrates a clear link between the daytime and night-time economies. It’s also a testament to how well all the partners work together to ensure Newcastle town centre is a safe and attractive place for people to come to for a night out, as well as during the day. We’re really pleased to have been part of the process and proud of what the partners have achieved.”