Cheltenham is a Purple Flag town

Purple flag flying outside the muni

In 2016, Cheltenham was first awarded Purple Flag status by the Association of Town and City Management (ATCM) in recognition of its excellent evening and night-time economy (ENTE). The award has been successfully maintained each year since then.

What is Purple Flag?

Purple Flag is a prestigious town and city centre award – similar to Blue Flags that are presented to outstanding beaches and Green Flags for excellent parks. Through the Purple Flag scheme, the ATCM aims to recognise and highlight towns and cities that are committed to raising standards and broadening their appeal, specifically between the hours of 5pm and 5am. 

The award recognises centres that have a vibrant and diverse mix of dining, entertainment, leisure and cultural offers available, while promoting the safety and wellbeing of visitors and local residents.

Cheltenham’s Purple Flag status is supported by a working group made up of representatives from the local licensed trade, Cheltenham Borough Council, the voluntary sector, the police, Cheltenham Business Improvement District (BID), the Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner and the University of Gloucestershire Students' Union.

Purple Flag accreditation is renewable annually and in their feedback on our most recent renewal application (submitted in January 2022) the ATCM Purple Flag adjudication panel made very positive comments about the application and supporting documentation:

Cheltenham should be applauded for the breadth and scope of support it has provided to the ENTE and the businesses within it to support business survival and town centre recovery from the Covid 19 pandemic. The submission contains very many highlights and examples of excellent practice, some of which include:

  • The speed and scale of reaction to the pandemic is to be highly commended, Cheltenham being the first Local Authority to publish a licensing and ENTE recovery strategy. Of particular note is the consideration within the ENTE strategy for ancillary ENTE businesses such as the security and transport sectors.
  • The multifaceted approach to Covid 19 should be recognised (grants, website, video seminars, newsletters etc). Clearly, the provision of support was detailed, fast and widespread.
  • The cultural hub is a pioneering and exciting new project – the ideal investment to bring life and hope to Cheltenham as it recovers from the pandemic.
  • The TURF collective of independent businesses is a great example of strength, adaptability and partnership during a challenging time for hospitality businesses. Having a forum available to chat, work on training and promote local trade appears to have been a valuable asset for these businesses and for recovery more generally.
  • Innovative use of barriers to extend pavement areas to facilitate queues but also to enable businesses to extend their operation into the public realm shows a real focus on business support and progressive thinking.
  • Both the Street Pastors and Cheltenham Guardians hold important roles in the ENTE, positive to see the continuation of the Stable safe space to further support patrons in town at night.
  • The ‘Find your happy place in Cheltenham’ campaign is a clever, targeted interactive initiative, which highlighted the hospitality and retail sectors as key reasons for customers to return to the high street.
  • Positive to seethe investment and upgrade into the town centre CCTV system, adding CCTV to previously uncovered areas and achieving the full Surveillance Camera Commissioner Accreditation
  • The submission highlights some great work on safety in the ENTE. This spans from the anti-drink spiking trial to Operation Nightingale’s comprehensive approach to tackling spiking issues, to the survey on ENTE safety. Although Cheltenham was unsuccessful in the SWAN funding bid its brilliant to see the continued passion and focus of listening to women in Cheltenham and working towards making them feel safer. The engagement extending to the University should also be highlighted as an example of strong partnership working.

The adjudication panel concluded ‘An excellent submission from Cheltenham. Extra congratulations on also being awarded the Green Flag’ (for public parks and gardens).  

Contact: Colin Pilsworth, Night-time economy coordinator -