DARLINGTON'S nightlife has been deeemd one of the safest in the North-East, according to experts.
The town has become the first in the region to be awarded Purple Flag status, a standard awarded to those towns and cities across the UK that offer safe and enjoyable nights out.
Similar to the Green and Blue Flags, awarded to parks and beaches respectively, Darlington faced a rigorous assessment to achieve its Purple Flag.
Part of the assessment process involved a team of experts visiting the town on a Friday evening in December, to witness its busy nightlife.
Another stop on the assessment was a number of entertainment venues such as Darlington Hippodrome, The Forum and Vue Cinema.
The assessors were looking for how safe and welcoming the town felt, how easy it was to move around the town and to get home safely, how good the range of leisure and entertainment venues were in terms of choice, and how the town generally looked and felt.
The council, along with the police and other organisations and businesses from across the town centre worked closely together for several months in the lead up to submitting the application before Christmas.
Leader of the Council Heather Scott said: “This is excellent news for our town and sends out a clear message – Darlington is a thriving and buzzing town and very much a destination of choice for a safe and enjoyable evening out.
“As Council Leader I’m very proud of what’s on offer in Darlington and how well our local businesses, the Council and other partners have work together to showcase the very best Darlington has to offer as part of the assessment process.
“I hope our Purple Flag status will encourage more people to visit Darlington for an evening out and make the most of the many restaurants, bars and entertainment venues we are lucky enough to have."
Darlington will be awarded the flag and presented with the certificate at a ceremony hosted by the Association of Town and City Management (ATCM) in April.
Jasmin Robson owner of Hash and Hatch said: “We are delighted to be the first town in the North-East to be awarded Purple Flag.
"It’s been a real team effort from all involved in submitting the application and making sure we were inspection ready.
“I am really proud to be involved, and hope it encourages more people to come to Darlington for an enjoyable and safe night out.”