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Gloucestershire Business News

Purple Flag signals economic boost for Gloucester

A "major boost" to the night-time economy of Gloucester has been announced which could make it the number one destination of choice in Gloucestershire.

That is how a leading business figure from the city describes the news that it has been awarded the much-coveted Purple Flag national safety award.

Justin Hudson, chairman of the town's LVA (Licenced Victuallers Association) - which started the push for Purple Flag status - said the night time economy's economic importance to the city was no longer overlooked.

"When I first started many involved in the night-time economy felt it was perceived by others as the Achilles heel of their towns," said Mr Hudson, also owner of Butlers night club.

"But we have been working hard to make people understand that it is not the scourge of the economy but can be a valuable part of it.

"For the city Purple Flag it is absolutely fantastic and for the trade it is testament to the hard work of everyone involved."

The increasing student population - not least the new accommodation in Blackfriars - would only help boost trade further said Mr Hudson.

"We are still raising our game. I believe Gloucester will supersede Cheltenham as a destination for a night out," he said.

The news comes as national figures from major nightclub operator The Deltic Group show consumer spending on a night out has risen 6.9 per cent to an average just shy of £60.

This includes spending on hair, beauty costs and new clothes.

Peter Marks, chief executive of Deltic said this showed that "a town's late-night activity has a directly positive effect on the economic health of the town or city it's in".

In March judges visited and met representatives of the city council including deputy leader, Cllr Jennie Watkins, a key figure in the bid, MP Richard Graham and representatives of Gloucestershire Constabulary, Marketing Gloucester and the LVA.

Purple Flag is awarded to cities or towns that show that they have a safe and thriving night-time economy, successful, safe and welcoming destinations with high standards of customer care, safe travel, a vibrant choice of leisure and entertainment for a diversity of ages, groups, lifestyles and cultures, and a lively and successful day-time offer as well.

The prestigious Purple Flag is already held by Cheltenham and Bristol.

City council officers, police, Amey and the Gloucester BID all worked on Gloucester's application over the past year and now having been successful will have to reapply for accreditation in two years time.

Gloucester Cathedral was lit-up purple in support of the campaign.

Pictured above: Cllr Jennie Watkins (far left), Cllr Paul James (left), and Nick Brookes, Chair of Gloucester BID (far right) with two Purple Flag judges.

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