Swansea set to fly the purple flag once again
SWANSEA'S nightlife scene is bidding to keep the Purple Flag flying over the city for an eighth consecutive year.
It's one of only two places in Wales that can fly the flag which highlights how visitors can always expect an entertaining, diverse, safe and enjoyable night out. Swansea was the first in Wales to achieve the accolade.
Now a partnership of organisations has submitted its bid to maintain Purple Flag status into 2022. The bid highlights a wide range of reasons why the city centre is the place to be now and in the future.
As a national initiative run by the Association of Town and City Management (ATCM), Purple Flag status rewards vibrant, diverse and safe city centres. The quality mark is the equivalent of Blue Flags for beaches and Green Flags for parks.
Swansea city centre was first awarded the status in 2014 in recognition of the excellence of its evening and night-time economy between 5pm and 5am.
The new bid points to success stories such as new business openings, safety campaigns and the Enjoy Swansea Responsibly campaign to reinforce key Covid safety measures.
Forthcoming projects to strengthen Purple Flag status are set to include further regeneration, including the opening of Swansea Arena, extending the city centre ranger service into the evening and night-time economy and implementing a public space protection order (PSPO).
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 John Ambulance, Swansea University, University of Wales Trinity Saint David, many city centre businesses, Swansea Bay University Health Board and several local developers.
Cllr Robert Francis-Davies, the council's cabinet member for investment, regeneration and tourism, said: "Swansea city centre is a vibrant and viable place that keeps visitors coming back for more. Our £1bn regeneration programme will strengthen its appeal.
"Great initiatives by our evening and night-time economy partnership have a chance to flourish so everyone has a great time out in a safe environment.
"We're very optimistic about retaining Purple Flag status though achieving this quality mark is no easy ride; the partnership has worked hard on keeping people safe right through the pandemic - and will continue to do so."
Examples of city centre improvements introduced in recent years include a medical help point on The Strand dealing with injuries and those at risk from intoxication and a drop-off point on The Strand providing a vehicle drop-off and visitor meet-and-greet service. A Safe Spaces scheme offers customers information and support to help deal with vulnerability. Best Bar None now has 24 premises accredited for customer service standards.
The council has transformed The Kingsway into a greener, pedestrian-friendly destination, is developing Wind Street into an all-day hospitality quarter and plans to improve Castle Square with new greenery and other reasons to visit.
The emerging Copr Bay district, with 3,500-capacity arena, parkland, new businesses, homes, parking and landmark bridge over Oystermouth Road, is due to open in the coming months. Shows already on sale for the arena include Alice Cooper with The Cult, Rhod Gilbert, Rob Brydon and Diversity.
The Purple Flag partners will find out later this year whether or not the city has retained its Purple Flag.
Russell Greenslade, chief executive of Swansea BID (Business Improvement District), said: "The Purple Flag is a mark of the hard work our city centre hospitality and night-time businesses do to ensure a safe and enjoyable night out; we're pleased to play our part in this as Swansea BID.
"As a BID we've just invested in extra night marshals, to help things run smoothly as our students return to Swansea, as well as safeguarding and cleansing teams previously.
"We're happy to manage and deliver the Best Bar None scheme, that helps improves standards through a combination of responsible management, ongoing improvements, and social responsibility.
"We're also offering, with our Gower College Swansea partners, free training courses for workforces in BID area. We hope these initiatives help the city to retain its Purple Flag."