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London mayor announces new Night Time Enterprise Zone

The London Eye at night. Credit: Mike Peel (CC BY-SA 4.0)

The Mayor of London Sadiq Khan has announced a new Night Time Enterprise Zone in a bid to boost the capital’s high streets at night.

The new Night Time Enterprise Zone, now open to bids from London borough councils, will help councils, businesses and residents try out new ideas to liven up their high streets after 6pm.

The London borough designated as the pilot zone will receive £75,000 to try out approaches for its high streets at night, such as running night-time markets, trying out longer opening hours, or helping shops and hotels host cultural events.

The pilot will take place later this year, with the results set to inform City Hall’s future plans for London’s night-time economy.

Khan said: ‘As Mayor, I want London to be a city that works for all Londoners, at all times of the day and night.

‘That’s why City Hall have asked the Night Time Commission to help realise our vision for a 24-hour city, and why I’m pleased to respond to their recommendations with such positive action.’

The announcement comes following a report published by London’s Night Time Commission earlier this year, which found that giving shops and public buildings longer opening hours between 6pm and 6am could prevent the decline of high street retail.

The establishment of the Night Time Enterprise Zone is just one of Khan’s responses to the report, which also includes the creation of a new Safer Sounds Partnership between event organisers, police and council licensing teams.

This partnership will aim to make it easier for event organisers to put on live music events safely and allow consistent licensing practice across the capital.

Other recommendations taken forward by Khan from the report include the introduction of a new City Hall delivery group to assess the impact of policies on London at night, as well as the creation of a Night Time Data Observatory to build a full picture of the capital’s nightlife.

Kate Nicholls, chair of the Night Time Commission, said she was ‘really delighted’ that Khan had responded so positively to the commission’s recommendations.

Nicholls said: ‘I’m particularly pleased that the three central recommendations –  the ‘think night’ test, the data led observatory and night time enterprise zones – are to be taken forward.

‘These will have a really transformational impact, unlocking the barriers many Londoners face in carrying out every day activities at night and ensuring that all neighbourhoods and communities can fulfil their potential to be a vibrant, dynamic and exciting place to live, to work and to visit from 6pm to 6am.’

London’s night-time economy is estimated to be worth more than £26bn, and Khan has worked extensively on improving London’s night-time culture since he became Mayor of the city in 2016.

Work he has already completed to boost the capital’s nightlife includes setting up a Night Time Borough Champions Network to share best practice across the capital, creating London’s first Night Czar, and launching the Night Tube as well as establishing a Women’s Night Safety Charter.

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