1st Aug 2019 in Business
Friday 26th July saw the first self-assessment take place in advance of Purple Flag, the nationally recognised accreditation for benchmarking the evening economy of the City.
Cathedral Quarter, Linen Quarter, and Belfast ONE Business Improvement Districts (BIDS); alongside Hospitality Ulster, Belfast Chamber, and Translink all took part in the exercise to health check the City Centre.
The assessment involved exploring the post 5pm Belfast experience including retail, hotels, licensed venues and cultural spaces. It also considers elements around safety, accessibility and place which all contribute to the City being a welcoming and vibrant space.
The group was privy to the regular weekend briefing sessions that happen between PSNI and a vast array of volunteer organisations including a briefing around missing and vulnerable persons which has helped dozens of individuals this year alone.
It was with great reward to meet the fantastic organisations SOS BUS, Street Pastors, and Community Rescue Service who give up 1000 of volunteer hours to ensure the night-time economy is a welcoming and safe space for residents and visitors.
Context for Belfast
The City Centre has significant growth ambitions for residential, commercial and tourism markets. With a significant increase in city living through the private residential market over the next 12-18 months and the ever expanding hotel sector there is an requirement to ensure that Belfast meets the aspirations of new residents, employers, and tourists, along with what is expected from an international city.
Cork City Centre was awarded the prestigious Purple Flag accreditation in 2015
Belfast has a significantly young population so ensuring we have a vibrant, mixed use and quality City Centre is vital to catalysing additional economic rejuvenation.
Providing a quality and unique offering will also be of huge benefit to some of the 250,000 business visitors to Belfast annually or for the national conference market which currently stands at 60,000 attendees (£45m p/annum) who again all want a vibrant and enriched experience of the City.
Currently the City Centre does not have one managed approach to its evening economy strategy. There are a vast array of stakeholders and partnerships in play and Purple Flag allows a coordinated and programmed opportunity.
Issues for the Cathedral Quarter within the context of Purple Flag
- The wide diversity of its residents, visitors and students.
- Improving people’s perceptions of the City as a safe, welcoming place throughout the day and night, with the promotion of our successes and addressing any perceived shortcomings
- Bridging the gap between the traditional retail closing time and the start of evening activities, through encouraging retail to cater for later shoppers
- Increasing the number of entertainment and arts venues operating after retail business ceases at 5.30pm, particularly those providing activities that are not predominantly alcohol-related
- Improving the street scene in some locations to increase their attractiveness
- Future proofing the City Centre for new residents, visitors, student population
- Ensuring supported services are maintained in a coordinated and collaborative manner
- Increasing visitors and expenditure in a mixed use economy
If you’d like to find out more about Purple Flag and CQ BIDs involvement get in touch get in touch.