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Celebrations after recognition of town
THE colour purple was much in evidence as Basingstoke landmark buildings and some bars marked the town winning the highly-prized Purple Flag accreditation.
The Haymarket, in Wote Street, was lit up by a special Purple Flag projection in its foyer and sported purple bunting, as did many of the premises in the town.
The lighting in Festival Square went purple for the evening and there was also a special purple cake-cutting ceremony as representatives of all the groups and organisations that had worked on the accreditation got together to celebrate the arrival of the Purple Flag, which is now flying above Festival Place.
The Purple Flag initiative, similar to the Blue Flag for beaches and the Green Flag for Parks, aims to raise the standard and broaden the appeal of town and city centres in the evenings and at night.
The successful bid for Purple Flag status was put together jointly by Basingstoke and Deane Borough Council, Festival Place, Anvil Arts, Destination Basingstoke, Basingstoke Street Pastors, Basingstoke Town Centre Pubwatch and Hampshire Constabulary.
Achieving Purple Flag status puts Basingstoke among an elite 40 town and city centres in the UK and Ireland.
Now the organisers are hoping that more shops, restaurants, bars and businesses will go purple for Purple Flag week, in conjunction with accredited towns and cities across the UK, from 21 to 29 September 2013.
The scheme is managed by the Association of Town and City Management working alongside the Purple Flag Advisory Committee – a partnership of key stakeholder groups backed by Government, police and business, as well as sponsors Diageo Great Britain.
Purple Flag-accredited towns and cities have proven that they are welcoming to everyone, offer safe ways for visitors to travel home after dark and provide a good mix of venues.
Basingstoke and Deane Borough Council deputy leader Councillor Ranil Jayawardena said: “Basingstoke is already a popular destination for a fun-filled and safe night out for all age groups.
“The ‘Purple Flag’ is further recognition of the work we are doing to improve our town centre.
“We hope that even more people will visit us to enjoy the friendly atmosphere that Basingstoke has to offer.”
And Chief Inspector Steve Wallace, commander of Basingstoke and Deane policing district, added: “The Purple Flag signals to people who want to come to Basingstoke and enjoy a night out, that they can do so with the reassurance that it is a safe and thriving environment.
“This is a fantastic achievement by so many different groups and organisations working together.
“The award is a testament to the hard work of local people who are committed to ensuring Basingstoke remains a safe place to live and work.”
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