Nottingham awarded Purple Flag for safe city centre

image captionBusinesses want to show the city is not just for late night drinkers

Nottingham has won a national award which recognises it as a safe and enjoyable place to have a night out.

The Purple Flag scheme, run by the Association for Town Centre Management, judges locations on how welcoming, clean and well-managed they are.

The city has been the subject of critical media attention focussed on binge drinking and gun crime.

Business leaders have welcomed the award, saying it is well deserved.

Problems with guns and youth crime peaked in 2004 and 2005 with a portrait of the city on the BBC's Panorama news programme and subsequent newspaper articles.

'Picked on'

Since then, various groups have held special events to encourage families and older people back into the city at night.

Sylvia Manser, from We Are Nottingham, an organisation which promotes city businesses, believes the award shows Nottingham's image has been transformed.

"I think we were unfairly picked on really. Sometimes the media pick up on a target and pick on that target and a few years ago that target was Nottingham.

"People like the police, the city council, the crime and drugs partnership and ourselves have worked really hard together, meeting every month to talk through the issues and look at initiatives to address them."

A spokesman for the scheme, which has so far awarded flags to seven other areas in England, said: "Areas are assessed on a range of criteria including personal safety, cleanliness, transport, attractiveness and appeal, arts and cultural offer, how welcoming they are, as well as the strength of partnership working.

"A team of experts carry out the judging process and explore, examine and experience the night life of the centres, acting as 'mystery visitors'."

The Association of Town Centre Management works with the Purple Flag Advisory Committee which includes representatives from central and local government, police, business and industry representatives.

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