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Armagh eyes ‘purple flag’ status to highlight city’s thriving night-time economy

Armagh Council has set its sights firmly on winning the prestigious ‘purple flag’ accolade, the gold standard award guaranteeing a thriving night time economy, Armagh I can reveal.

With the catchline ‘for a better night out’, it is the highest internationally recognised award for the night time economy in Europe.

Only 43 towns and cities across the whole of the UK and Ireland can currently fly the purple flag, which is to night life what the blue flag is to beaches.

It promotes a quality evening and night time offering, in a safe environment, to locals, regional, national and international visitors.

With its eyes on the prize, Armagh Council is now seeking to appoint an organisation to deliver business training, workshops and mentoring for its ‘Evening Economy Development Programme’.

The programme’s overall goal is to develop Armagh as a “stand-out night-time destination that will greatly enhance the contribution made by this increasingly important sector to the local economy”.

The programme will target all micro, small and medium sized businesses that are looking to expand into or are currently involved in the evening economy, in particular the hospitality sector.

For Armagh City Centre, it is the ultimate ambition to secure the Association of Town Centre Management’s purple flag accreditation.

In recent months, Armagh I revealed that Uluru had won a place in the prestigious Waitrose Good Food Guide 2015.

And we were also first to report the reopening of the bar and bistro at the Market Place Theatre and plans for a new restaurant by Emersons Supermarket, part of its extension at Market Street.

It will be developments and accolades such as this that the council will be hoping will strengthen its campaign for the purple flag.

According to the Association of Town and City Management, the scheme was set up to establish national standards and raise the image of town centres at night.

It says that by meeting the standards set by purple flag, a great evening and night-time offer can be promoted. It aims to raise standards and improve the quality of towns and cities by incorporating all aspects of evening and night-time economy management into a comprehensive framework for local partnerships to aspire to.

ATCM says it recognises excellence in the management of town and city centres at night. It claims that entertainment areas that achieve the standard will benefit from an improved night time environment and a reputation that offers ‘a better night out’ to visitors.

Obtaining a purple flag shows that a town or city’s “night time economy offers clean and safe environments, great bars and clubs, a variety of arts and cultural attractions and excellent transport links”.

What do you think? Has Armagh got what it takes to go purple? Tell us your views.

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