Mullingar Town Seeks Purple Flag Status

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Paint the town Purple:

Purple is the new red for painting the town and Mullingar Chamber of Commerce will be playing their part in this exciting new adventure for the town centre.

Flying the Purple Flag in Mullingar will mean the town is one of the top destinations for evening and night-time activity:

“To get the Purple Flag for Mullingar, the town has to meet a certain set of criteria, so we need to show that Mullingar meets and in fact exceeds those standards set by the judges,” explained Brigid Manley, Deputy president Mullingar Chamber of Commerce.

“We are expecting a team of judges to make a scheduled visit to the town in the coming weeks and they will look closely at the town and judge for themselves if the town is worthy of Purple Flag status.

“We will have an itinerary and will guide them around the town showing them all the wonderful places Mullingar has to offer in the evenings.”

As part of a drive to raise awareness of the work to achieve a purple flag for the town, key buildings in the town will be lit up purple in the coming weeks.

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The importance of developing the night time economy:

Mullingar’s night time economy is about to be the focus of the support, development, investment and improvement that traditionally associated with day time trade.

“Over a quarter of money spent in a local economy is spent in the commercial activity of the early evening and night time. Some towns and cities across Ireland have seen their evening economy grow providing good local employment and a vibrant, sustainable, night time economy. We, as a Chamber cannot ignore this area of potential growth,” explained Deputy President Brigid Manley.

“The successful and effective management of the night time economy is not just a pet project– it’s a necessity. Towns that develop their night time economy and integrate it well with their daytime trade will prosper, those that do not will fail.”

Future town centre trends all point towards the development of leisure and amenity as vital for traders and trade. The internet accounts for an eighth of all non-food retail sales and everything points to this being a trend that is growing. If, as retail experts predict, this trend reaches thirty five percent by 2020 that will equate to a 30 percent over supply of retail space in the country.

“If we want to keep our town centre vibrant, be proactive in ensuring we have town centre business that employs people and have the right mix of businesses we have to invest and develop the leisure and amenity economy- to put it simply make sure Mullingar is a great place to have a night out in.”

What the blue flag is for beaches and lakes, the purple flag is for night time town centres:

Brigid is a member of the Mullingar town team and is heading up a group that intend to apply for Purple Flag Status for Mullingar. What the blue flag is for beaches and lakes, the purple flag is for night time town centres.

“We are not just competing with the internet. Let’s be practical. This is town versus town. So we need to make sure that Mullingar has everything going for it. That it is safe, attractive, has a wonderful balance of retail and leisure- good restaurants, cafes, bars, art centre, gallery, hotels, cinema, bowling. This benefits business in the town by attracting more people into the area, it showcases Mullingar and investors do look at these offerings when making decisions about coming into an area to set up in business.”

Brigid believes that it is important to prioritize Mullingar so that over the next 15 to 20 years it will consolidate, grow and develop and not meet the fate of other towns that struggle to adapt to the challenging customer focus economy that is coming down the line.

Last week, a delegation from Mullingar attended a two days of workshops on the Purple Flag in Ennis, a town which agreed to pilot the programmer.

The Purple Flag is an initiative that acknowledges and rewards excellence in the management of the night time economy. Originating in the UK, it is a partnership between key stakeholders including the business community, local authorities, gardai and the public. Representing Mullingar were Sean Daly – Community Police Officer Mullingar Garda Station, Brigid Manley – Deputy President Chamber of Commerce, Mark Brindley – Town Planning Consultant & Chamber Executive, Bernadette Solon – Westmeath County Council, County Architect and Angie Daly, Mullingar Chamber of Commerce.

“The workshops equipped us with the skills to develop a collective vision for the town and to devise a series of integrated plans to achieve that vision. That means we have plans of action to deal with anti-social behavior, increases footfall, advances the diversity of the town offering and when it all comes together we will Mullingar a destination town for the Midlands.

Mullingar’s ambassadors were the only town ambitious enough to seek this accolade, joining them on the workshops were teams from cities Galway, Sligo and Waterford.

For full details see the following Mullingar Purple Flag Initiative Document (pdf)

 

 

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