Cotton Court Business Centre

Purple Flag Award

Preston Retains the Right to Fly the Purple Flag!

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Preston city centre is celebrating today after learning it has retained the prestigious Purple

Flag status for its evening and night-time economy (ENTE). Purple Flag is a town and city

centre award – similar to the Blue Flag for beaches – which aims to raise the standard and

broaden the appeal of town and city centres between the hours of 17:00 & 05:00. Areas

awarded the Purple Flag are recognised for providing a vibrant and diverse mix of dining,

entertainment and culture while promoting the safety and wellbeing of visitors and local


Since 2007, the programme has awarded the Purple Flag status to over 65 towns and cities

in the UK and Ireland. Purple Flag accredited areas have all reported a consistent increase in

footfall and a decrease in crime within the ENTE. The Purple Flag programme is managed by

the Association of Town and City Management (ATCM) which works alongside – a

partnership of key stakeholder groups backed by Government, police and businesses, as

well as the UK sponsors Diageo Great Britain.

Mark Whittle from Preston BID said: ‘Preston city centre has retained the standard for its

fifth year now, which is a major achievement for the city. The leisure economy in Preston

continues to develop, boasting an offer that far outweighs that of any of our neighbours.

‘The Purple Flag standard is an important accolade for Preston and through BID’s

partnership with the sector’s venues, the police and other interested parties; we are

committed to ensuring that the city centre remains a vibrant and safe place to visit. We will

be celebrating Preston’s Purple Flag status later this year to remind people why we’re

worthy of this prestigious accolade’.



Shanaaz Carroll, CEO of the ATCM said:

“There are now over 70 towns and cities across the UK and Ireland who are proudly flying

the Purple Flag after working hard to gain accreditation. The award is not just about safety,

but also the vibrancy and diversity of the evening and night-time offer — this can only be

achieved by people working together and across the country we are seeing some amazing

examples of this type of partnership working.”

Preston will officially receive its renewed Purple Flag accreditation along with Dublin One,

Leeds, Reading, Wexford, Leicester Square, Salisbury, Sheffield and other locations who

have had their Full Renewal status renewed, at an awards ceremony which will take place

on the 08 February 2017 in Carrick on Shannon.



Preston turned purple on Saturday night as thousands of people descended on the Flag Market for Preston Business Improvement District’s (BID) ‘Purple Party’.

The event, organised to highlight the city’s award-winning status as a Purple Flag destination, saw people come to Preston to enjoy a free, live gig before experiencing the best of what the city has to offer. Official figures saw 3,018 people enjoy the event, across the course of the evening.

Headline performances from Craig Charles and MistaJam, supported by local DJ Nick Carter, created a celebratory atmosphere on the city’s Flag Market as they performed from the Harris Museum balcony.



BID manager, Mark Whittle, said:  “The premise was to attract people to Preston for a special event, encourage them to visit our bars, clubs and restaurants, and even stay in our hotels, before and after the event.

“It’s the first large scale, free to attend event of this nature anywhere in the North West, which celebrates and promotes a city’s leisure sector by throwing a party for people.”

Party-goers were treated to a two-hour, live full production show, following a welcome from the SPARK! Drummers, GlowBots, carnival showgirls, stilt-walkers, fire eaters and more.

Those applying for tickets were predominately from Lancashire but some had traveled from locations including Leeds, Edinburgh, Birmingham and Inverness.

One of them, Sally Walsh (32), from Leeds, said: “As soon as we heard about this event we had to go; it was amazing, using a beautiful building like a museum to throw a party for so many people and for it to be free of charge was fabulous. We traveled down from Carlisle and are making a weekend of it in Preston; we’ve had a great time and will come back.”

Andrea Mellon, owner of Duk~Pond on Cross Street and a member of the BID Committee, added: “It was a great night, events like this are really important to show people what Preston has to offer – that it’s got something for everyone as well as being safe and vibrant.

“Preston does have a great offer post-5pm and so many people arriving in our great city and supporting our local economy was fantastic; I hope it’s a regular event.”

Check out the video thats ben produced by RTR Digital


Prestfest to return to the city with a bang!

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Cotton Court Business Centre has once again been asked to support the promotion of Prestfest by The North and Western Lancs Chamber of Commerce andPreston BID (Business Improvement District) to work alongside them on a project that will join together a selection of city centre venues in a steering group to bring you Preston by Night.  Preston by Night promote and raised awareness online for a new event called Prestfest, in the past a 3 day celebration of Preston’s evening entertainment. This year is going to be slightly different!

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So what is Preston by Night and why have they the venues come together to promote Preston as a good night out? Find out more from our past blogs

BID Preston Launches Prestfest Weekend!

Cotton Court Supports Prestfest Weekend 2014

Prestfest Weekend fills the streets with colour!

For more information about this prestigious award visit

Cotton Court Business Centre have been tasked with increasing the event awareness and their social media awareness, customer interaction, design, online branding, photography coverage, and the support of all the business within Preston City Centre that are taking part in the festival by promoting their offers and activities.

We are continuing to work with the ChamberBID and Preston by Night group to develop and evolve the project.

Get your FREE tickets for The Prestfest Party – Saturday 31st January 2016 Now! 

Superstar DJs MistaJam and Craig Charles will perform at Preston’s ‘biggest ever night-time party’ in January 2016 after agreeing to appear at Prestfest’s Purple Party. In the form of a huge free gig on the Flag Market, with thousands of free tickets being made available for the event.

A world-class sound and lighting system, together with a live visual and FX show, will create an outdoor nightclub with the special guest DJs performing to the audience from the balcony of the historic Harris Museum and Art Gallery.

MistaJam, an international name through presenting on BBC Radio One and performing at the UK’s biggest festivals and weekly residencies at some of the world’s best super clubs such as Ibiza Rocks and Mallorca’s BCM, will perform a headline set.

And BBC Radio Two’s DJ Craig Charles, well known for his TV career having played Lister in Red Dwarf, presented Robot Wars and spent 10 years in Coronation Street, will perform his hugely popular live funk and soul set.

BID manager Mark Whittle said: “We are delighted to announce two huge names from the DJ circuit to our Purple Party in January.

“We have been promising this will be the biggest free night-time party Preston has ever seen since we first launched the event in late September and now we can truly back that up.

“We have two acts that are incredibly well known between them and will appeal to a wide and varied audience, which is exactly what we want to attract to our great city.

“The whole point of the Purple Party is to get thousands of people into the city early on to enjoy a good time before heading out into our local nightspots to enjoy what Preston has to offer – award-winning nightlife and a huge welcome.

You can also follow Preston by Night & PrestFest on Twitter: @PrestonByNight & @PrestFest Or use the hashtag #Prestfest

Preston is STILL the best night out in Lancashire

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Preston City Centre is officially still the best place to go for a night out in Lancashire after it was awarded a Purple Flag for the fifth year in a row.

The award – similar to the Blue Flags for beaches and Green Flags for parks – recognises areas that provide a safe, vibrant and inclusive night time experience and has only been given to two other areas in the North West.

The Purple Flag was first brought to the city by the Preston City Centre Business Improvement District (BID) in 2011, and the BID team has successfully gone through the rigorous assessment process each year since then.

Awarding the Purple Flag, judges said Preston had ‘a strong Purple Flag programme demonstrating good practice, development and management of the evening and night-time economy (ENTE)’ and ‘a particularly great media presence for the city centre ENTE and activities focusing on keeping the Purple Flag profile in the limelight’.

BID manager Mark Whittle said: “At a time when some of our neighbouring boroughs are experiencing an unfortunate period of decline and closures, Preston has encountered a significant profile-raising with four new venues opening in the past 12 months alone.

“There has been a surge in positivity around the city’s evening and night time economy and the general atmosphere is great.

“And it isn’t just about alcohol, Preston offers the whole package so there really is something for everyone. They will be welcomed, safe and looked after.”

The rigorous application process includes the submission of a formal application which evidences the offering within a town or city applying for Purple Flag and is followed up by a formal assessment from industry experts, including senior police officials.

BID organisers highlighted the city’s thriving early evening and late-night economy, which is boosted by a wide variety of nightclubs and bars and laid-back cocktail lounges.

The city centre also has a lively and accessible entertainment scene and is home to two comedy clubs, the Guild Hall and a number of smaller independent entertainment venues.

Some of the biggest national acts have performed in recent times in Preston, including Ellie Goulding, Ed Sheeran, John Bishop and Jake Bugg and there will soon be a glittering array of soul legends at David Gest’s show at the Guild Hall and a home-coming show from Andrew Flintoff.

And BID also points out people are never short of a place to dine in the city centre, with a variety of independent restaurants and grills sitting side-by-side with nationally recognisable chains offering a plethora of international cuisines.

The city’s leisure sector is now stronger than ever, with continual independent and national chain investment.

Mr Whittle said: “We are officially the proudest place to live in England, according to the property website RightMove.

“This was backed up when almost 100,000 votes were submitted to our recent ‘Preston, It Smiles Better – The Awards’ celebrating the city’s nightlife and retail offering.

“Why not pay us a visit and find out for yourself?”

Cotton Studios supports Love Food, Love Preston 2014

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A selection of images from our recent Love food, Love Preston event. Celebrating and showcasing some of the finest restruarants our city has to offer! Thank you to Sherrie Hewson, Paul Rankin, Jean-Christophe Novelli & of course Mark Whittle from The Business Improvement District for asking us to support the event.

View the rest of the photos here

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Prestfest Wins National Recognition!!

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Prestfest, a campaign introduced by Preston’s Business Improvement District (BID) in association with the city’s night time economy businesses, has been highly commended as one of the best projects in the country at the ATCM national awards.

Prestfest was officially recognised by industry leaders for “outstanding achievement in town and city management”, in particular for “developing the early evening & night time economy”.

The team here are very proud to have been involved since its conception and look forward to continuing to support the Chamber of Commerce & the Business Improvement District (BID)

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Prestfest went head to head with projects from across the UK and was recognised during the Association of Town & City Management’s Annual Awards Dinner in Dundee.

Prestfest, a twice-annual campaign, held recently across the May bank-holiday weekend, brought together the city’s night time attractions and promoted a wide range of in-venue and on the street activities and events.  77% of venues across the city centre who took part in the campaign reported that footfall was up year on year across the Prestfest weekend.

Jessica Toomey, Chair of Preston At Night said:  “We are thrilled to have been officially recognised for our work in promoting Preston’s night time economy, particularly having beaten of stiff competition to be highly commended for Prestfest.  Preston BID and city centre night time economy businesses worked really hard to pull out all the stops to ensure Prestfest visitors had a great time”.

She continued: “No one across Lancashire celebrates their evening leisure offer like Preston does, we’re resolute that we have to keep promoting the best of the city and encouraging new people to visit and those that do visit, come more frequently.  Events like Prestfest are important because they bring businesses together for the common good and offer something a little bit different to visitors.  This recognition only strengthens Preston’s position as the best night out in Lancashire”.


Prestfest is to return to the city centre later this year and was introduced in order to promote the city centre’s Purple Flag accreditation for a safe, vibrant and enjoyable night out. 

Preston is still the only destination in Lancashire to have successfully secured the accreditation.


Prestfest colours the streets

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Dinosaurs, trolls, a giant Lego man, a light show and even a camel performed on the streets of the Preston over the bank holiday weekend.

The quirky street performers lit up the city centre as part of the Prestfest event.

The major festival celebrating the nightlife in the city offered revellers exclusive deals in a bid to attract more people to the city.

Mark Whittle, from event organisers Preston BID, said: “The weekend was a huge success in terms of promoting our city centre businesses and the night time economy in Preston.

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“We are the only destination in the North West to organise and fund a campaign like Prestfest, specifically for this sector.

“We gave away £1,500 across the weekend, via the pubs, clubs, bars and restaurants, of which every penny went back in to supporting those businesses, that’s the way the ‘Preston Pound’ works, it cannot be spent outside the city.

“This was really well received by the venues and those that took part in our competitions and activities.

“Footfall across the weekend was up by 18 per cent on the first weekend in May, which is a considerable increase.

“As the only place in Lancashire to have won the Purple Flag standard for a safe and vibrant night out, events like Prestfest are important to profile why our city won the award.

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“Prestfest is now an integral part of our annual activity and we look forward to it returning later in the year.

“We would like to thank the businesses that got involved and the many visitors that came to enjoy Preston this weekend”.

We are very proud to be involved yet again & very pleased that Cotton Studios has photo’s used in Lancashire Evening Post

Article taken from Lancashire Evening Post

Cotton Court Supports Prestfest

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grab pbn up

Cotton Court Business Centre will once again be supporting the promotion of Prestfest! We have been asked by North and Western Lancs Chamber of Commerce andPreston BID (Business Improvement District) to work alongside them on a project that joined together a selection of city centre venues in a steering group to bring you Preston by Night.  Preston by Night promote and raised awareness online for a new event called Prestfest, a 3 day celebration of Preston’s evening entertainment.

So what is Preston by Night and why have they the venues come together to promote Preston as a good night out?

Preston is one of only a handful of towns and cities in the country to be awarded the prestigious Purple Flag standard, demonstrating the City Centre’s achievement in creating a safe, easily accessible and lively & vibrant night out. Its diverse clientele and abundance of social activities validates Preston’s determination in maintaining high standards.

It is not just for the bars and clubs. With cuisine from every corner of the world and a great late night culture, theatres, comedy, an annual programme of events and a range of hotels, Preston is a key night time destination for all.

For more information about this prestigious award visit

Cotton Court Business Centre have been tasked with increasing the pages likes, customer interaction, app design, online branding, photography coverage, and the support of all the business within Preston City Centre that are taking part in the 3 day festival by promoting their offers and activities.

Below is the custom build welcome page that everyone is taken to before “liking” the page.

We are continuing to work with the ChamberBID and Preston by Night group to develop and evolve the project.

The next Prestfest celebration will be from Friday 23rd May ’til Sunday 25th May, Bank Holiday weekend! Lots more info coming soon, but save the dates!

You can also follow Preston by Night & PrestFest on Twitter: @PrestonByNight & @PrestFest

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Cotton Court helps Alive After Five Hospitality Awards

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We are once again helping promote Preston By Night working alongside the Preston BID Team to promote Preston, Lancashire Why not cast your vote now!

About the awards:

The Alive After Five Hospitality Awards are staged by Preston BID to recognise those businesses in the night time economy who offer a great night out. Only venues that are based in the immediate city centre, that have nominated themselves, or been nominated by another venue, have reached the finals. The individual awards will be won on public votes and the venue awards will be judged both by public votes and mystery shoppers.

Voting closes on September 27th at 5.00pm.























Congratulations Mayor Veronica Afrin

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Mayor of Preston, Veronica Afrin, was sworn into the role at an inauguration ceremony last week, in which our very own Jon Nutten was a last minute stand in photographer for the reception at the Harris Museum on Wednesday night.

Coun Afrin said: “I have been involved in setting up all kinds of charities in Preston and a lot of them are already writing to me asking me to come and see them during my mayoral year.

“I am looking forward to catching up with a lot of old friends and meeting a lot of new ones.


“The role of mayor is still very important to people and after 35 years as a councillor this is the icing on the cake.”

The Labour councillor, who represents St Matthews ward, has appointed her daughter, Joanne, and granddaughter, Colette, as her Mayoresses.

Mayor Afrin has been straight to work on Saturday entertaining the Purple Flag inspectors as they inspected our City to ensure Preston retains its prestigious accreditation as one of the best nights out in the country for a third successive year. A project in which Cotton Court have been heavily involved in, by helping promote the event via multiple Social Media channels

All the staff at Cotton Court Business Centre wish Veronica all the very best for her tenure as Preston’s Mayor.