Bromley Council , the Copers Cope Area Residents’ Association and the Beckenham Town Team are working to re-qualify Beckenham’s Purple Flag Award (find our more about Beckenham’s Purple Flag status below).
We need your help to understand perceptions of the night-time economy with in the Purple Flag area and feelings of safety. Most grateful if you can take the 2 minute survey below
Beckenhams Purple Flag Story
In February 2014 the Beckenham Town Centre Team (chaired by the Copers Cope Area Residents Association) decided Beckenham should try to achieve the Purple Flag award: the evening economy was often a source of complaint for local people, and the Purple Flag is a great way to make improvements and change perceptions.
The Purple Flag is awarded by the Association of Town Centre Management (ATCM) to towns and cities that can demonstrate excellence in managing their night-time economy. Similar to the Blue Flag for great beaches and the Green Flag for great parks, the Purple Flag is for towns with diverse and safe evening and night-time economies.
Over the following 12 months a small steering group involving Bromley Council Trading Standards, Bromley Council Licensing, Beckenham Business Association, West Beckenham Residents’ Association, Churches Together, Street Pastors, a representative from Beckenham’s licensed premises and, of course, the Copers Cope Area Residents’ Association worked together to make this idea a reality.
In January 2016 Beckenham was awarded the Purple Flag, and at the time was one of only 42 places in the country to have been awarded it. What impressed the awarding body most was the input and collaboration from the two residents’ associations representing local people. The ATCM was so impressed it has asked for Beckenham to be used as a case study to demonstrate the importance of resident groups in town centre management. Beckenham is the first town to be awarded the flag as a result of joint efforts from residents, businesses, and the Council – usually applications are driven by the council or businesses.
The ATCM were also impressed by the diverse offering of Beckenham’s evening economy. They especially liked the programme of events at St Georges Church, the mix of old pubs and new bars and the variety of restaurants. The Alleyway Naming Project (delivered by the Copers Cope Area Residents Association with much support from the Town Centre Team) was another area that sparked their interest and demonstrated a local interest in heritage and the plan to make these alleyways attractive and safer, especially at night.
So what did it take to get the flag?
There were many walk-arounds by volunteers from 5pm to 1 or 2am to assess how well the town centre coped with increased clientele at the weekend in the restaurants and bars. Local people and some patrons, door personnel, and bar/restaurant staff were surveyed for their views on Beckenham’s night-time economy. The key areas of concern included:
- Dispersing crowds on Friday and Saturday nights – noise and potential for anti-social behaviour.
- Queues for taxis, and the Kebab shop queues after the clubs had shut.
- Radio and CCTV capacity to ensure the police and licensed premises could deal with any anti-social behaviour quickly and efficiently.
- Street cleaning of the town centre through the weekend evenings to ensure the town remained pleasant for all.
As part of the application for the Purple Flag the following was achieved:
- The radio system was upgraded and all licensed premises signed up ensuring licensed premises and the Police could remain in contact throughout the night.
- A taxi queuing system was introduced by New Regency Cars to streamline the queues for taxis on Friday and Saturday nights.
- Taxi marshalls have been deployed at Regency cars and at the taxi rank outside Marks & Spencer.
- Door staff have been retrained to spot and aid vulnerable people leaving the clubs (eg those who have had too much to drink).
- The Kebab shop on The Bridge now employs a door-person on Friday and Saturday nights to keep order.
- The location of CCTV was reviewed to ensure the views were maximized.
- Wellbeing packs were provided to all late night establishments to ensure they had the minimum kit to deal with revellers who had over indulged.
The most telling sign of success was last Christmas when the number of incidents related to late night drinking fell significantly in Beckenham whilst the rest of the borough saw an increase.
Purple Flag status lasts for two years and the town will need to maintain and hopefully improve standards in order to re-qualify.