London’s night-time economy could save struggling high streets

London’s booming night-time economy could make the difference when it comes to saving the city’s struggling high streets, its Night Time Commission has revealed.

In a report published last week, the commission said that giving shops and public buildings longer opening hours between the hours of 6pm and 6am could prevent the decline of high street retail, boosting London’s economic activity.

Ways buildings could be used after dark include hosting pop-up markets in retail units and putting on performances in parks, libraries, museums and town halls, it said.

The Night Time Commission – set up by the Mayor of London Sadiq Khan – has offered recommendations on how to boost London’s neighbourhoods at night, which will now be considered by the Mayor.

Khan said: ‘I’m determined that London is a city that works for all, 24-hours a day, and that’s why I’ve been working hard to champion the night-time economy and asked the Night Time Commission to help realise our ambitions.

‘I’d like to thank the Commission for their thorough and world-leading work, and will be considering their recommendations carefully.”

London’s night-time economy is crucial for the UK’s capital as it employs 1.6 million Londoners and contributes billions to the city’s economy.

London’s Night Time Commission was set up by Khan in 2017 and is made up of a range of experts in the city’s night-time economy including council leaders, businesses, DJs and transport officials.

Comprehensive data published by the Commission last year found that a third of the capital’s workers usually work evenings and nights, with jobs in the night-time industries growing faster than the wider economy.

The data also found that two-thirds of Londoners are regularly active at night, running errands and socialising, while the number of businesses open after dark has increased in recent years.

Other recommendations made by the Commission to help make London a world-leading night city include allowing boroughs to develop their own night-time strategies, providing them with data to aid them and establishing a fund to facilitate their plans.

The Commission has also suggested the publishing of an annual report on London’s night-time economy in order to measure its progress.

Kate Nicholls, chair of the London Night Time Commission, said: ‘We believe the capital can be so much more at night – with more chances to shop, to rest, to explore, to innovate and to grow.

‘We can extend the opening hours of our traditional cultural offerings to reach more Londoners and we can bring underused spaces to life at night and help tackle the decline of our high streets.

‘To do this we must improve planning for the night and that’s why we want to see every borough, with the support of the Mayor, set out a positive vision for their night-time economy, to drive forward improvements at all hours and retain the special character of each area.’

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 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.

Image credit: Mike Peel


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