Mansfield has proved yet again that it is a great place for a night out - and is shaking off its historically bad reputation - by winning a top national award for the second year running.
The town has retained its Purple Flag status - which recognises excellence in the management of town centres at night - for another year.
A team of experts has rubber stamped the award after judging the success of improvements carried out in the town centre.
The Association of Town and City Management’s (ATCM) Purple Flag Accreditation Panel, found the town centre is going from strength to strength.
Mansfield Business Improvement District (BID) manager Sarah Nelson said: “We are delighted to maintain Purple Flag status and even more delighted by the positive changes that are continuing in the town.
“More people are coming into town, takings in night time economy venues are up and we are attracting more new businesses.
“We are beginning to shake off the outdated reputation of Mansfield being a place to avoid and becoming a place more and more people recognise as somewhere they can have an enjoyable night out.”
The report found anti-social behaviour has continued to decrease, the number of new evening businesses in the town is double that of the previous year and the number of families coming into town in the evening has increased by 25 per cent.
Purple Flag is an accreditation scheme which can be seen as the equivalent of the Blue Flag awarded to good beaches.
Work to gain the award for Mansfield was led by a team set up in 2013 and involving representatives from Mansfield Association of Licensed Venues (MALV), Mansfield BID, Mansfield District Council, Mansfield Partnership Against Crime (MPAC) and the police. Many other organisations which contribute to the town centre experience have also played a role in the work.
Physical improvements were carried out, changes made to policing and projects were introduced to increase safety and confidence.
The ATCM ‘light touch’ assessment found businesses gave overwhelming support to the Purple Flag celebration events held in April when the town was awarded Purple Flag status.
Hundreds of people poured into Mansfield town centre to join in the celebrations, enjoying a steel pan band performance, street performers, a colliery band and a flash mob dance.
People were given the chance to experience venues like the Old Library, Museum and the library, which were open late.
An evening market was set up and shops in the Four Seasons shopping centre stayed open late.
Art displays marking the event were set up in Queen’s Place and an innovative photographic display was held outside the Old Town Hall.
To retain its Purple Flag status this year, the steering group has had to report back to the ATCM, demonstrating that the improvements have continued to benefit the town.