Flying the Purple Flag

Flying the Purple Flag
04 March 2022

Darlington has been awarded the prestigious purple flag award in recognition of its safe, welcoming, and diverse night-time economy.

The national accreditation aims to raise standards and improve the quality of towns and cities between the hours of 5pm and 5am. Darlington, which has won the award for the second year in a row, remains the only town or city in the North East to hold the status.

The Association of Town and City Management (ATCM) who oversee the programme, which is backed by Government and police, were introduced to Darlington virtually to experience the town’s nightlife offering. Factors for successful destinations include strong multi-sector partnership working, a vibrant choice of leisure and entertainment for a diversity of ages, lifestyles and cultures, high standards of customer care and wellbeing of visitors must be priority, ensuring visitors feel safe, welcomed, can move around the town with ease and are able to get home safely.

The ATCM highlighted the strong partnership engagement between Darlington Borough Council and its partners including, police, licensing, and local hospitality businesses. The board also commented that the town demonstrated a diverse and varied evening and night-time economy offering, and a clear passion for Purple Flag.

The award comes after members of the council’s town centre team and community safety team continued to worked closely with Darlington Police and venue owners throughout the pandemic and this year to provide a safe and welcoming evening environment for residents and visitors.

Councillor Brian Jones, chair, General Licensing Committee, said: “This is once again, a fantastic achievement, well done to everyone involved in this award, it takes a lot of hard work and dedication throughout the year to win this accreditation and I’m really proud that we’re the only town in the North East to be recognised.

“Our night-time economy has taken a battering in the last couple of years but our pubs, bars, restaurants and entertainment venues have shown huge resilience, not only to survive but to thrive.

“The key to our success has been partnership working, between council teams, the police and venues themselves, to make Darlington a welcoming place for all after dark. We’ve got a great variety of venues, with something for everyone, including arts and culture, leisure, food and dining, education, and events. I hope everyone will get behind our town day and night.”

To find out what’s on offer in the town visit

Picture caption: Cllr Brian Jones; Chris Knox, Community Safety Programme Manager at Darlington Borough Council; Allison McKay Managing Director Forum Music Centre; Insp Dean Haythornthwaite Darlington Neighbourhood Policing Team

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