Flagging up Weston’s night-time economySafer Stronger North Somerset
Weston-super-Mare’s safe and diverse evening and night-time economy has again been recognised with the award of the prestigious Purple Flag.
It follows a joint submission led by North Somerset Council and the Weston Business Improvement District (BID).
In awarding Weston the flag for the third consecutive year assessors who visited the town in December highlighted a number of areas that particularly impressed them:
- the regeneration of the town centre including the transformation of the Tropicana into “an events hub for the town”, the refurbishment of the Italian Gardens, the opening of the new Dolphin Square and the expansion of Weston College which is bringing more students to the area
- the diverse appeal of the town centre with its range of entertainment venues, eating establishments “to suit all tastes” and pubs and bars “for all demographics”
- the success of the traffic light scheme operated by the council’s licensing team which has seen “vast improvements” in the town’s licensed premises – all premises are risk-rated and are currently rated green
- the MAVIS bus (multi-agency vehicle in service) run by the council’s community safety team which offers assistance and a safe place to vulnerable people on Saturday nights – between four and eight people are treated on MAVIS each night it is out, reducing the strain on other emergency services
- the “enthusiasm” and “commitment” of all the partners involved in improving Weston’s evening and night-time economy with the assessors commenting: “The passion that they want Weston to be the place to come to and visit shines through.”
The retention of the Purple Flag follows figures released recently which show an eight per cent reduction in crime and disorder in Weston town centre during the night-time economy period in 2017 compared to the previous year. This is the third year in a row it has fallen.
“Our aim is to provide a safe, enjoyable and friendly evening and night-time economy for everyone,” said Cllr Felicity Baker, the council’s executive member for community safety,
“To achieve this all relevant agencies and local businesses are working together to keep the town safe after dark and broaden the appeal of what’s on offer. The assessors were clearly impressed with the partnership working and with the dramatic regeneration the town centre has undergone in the past year, improving the experience for visitors during the evening and night-time.”
“I think the majority of people would be really surprised by how much activity goes on behind the scenes to ensure that we have a managed evening and night-time economy that has broad appeal to all of our town centre users,” said Weston town centre and BID manager Steve Townsend.
“We have achieved so much but there is also much still to achieve, and Purple Flag gives us the framework to make this happen. I would urge all licensed premises to become involved with our Pub Watch initiative to find out more.”
Inspector David Deakin, of Avon and Somerset Police, said: “It’s great that Weston has retained this important status, which reflects the hard work everyone puts in to keeping our town’s residents, workers and visitors safe. Our dedicated weekend Operation Adjudicate continues to help ensure residents and visitors enjoy what the town has to offer in safety.”