Excellent London Night Time Commission policy recommendations

The London Night Time Commission, chaired by Kate Nicholls (CEO of UK Hospitality), has published an extremely thorough and well-considered report entitled “Think Night – London’s neighbourhoods from 6pm to 6am” (that can be downloaded below).

It maintains that London’s successful night-time economy can play a major role in helping to save the capital’s struggling high streets and sets out the Commission’s following ten policy recommendations to the Mayor of London (supported in each case by (a) items of “evidence & logic”, “examples of best practice” and “key performance indicators” and (b) a detailed rationale):

  1. The Mayor should put the night at the heart of London policymaking. He should introduce a Night Test for all new policies to rate their impact on London’s culture, sociability, wellbeing and economy at night.
  2. The Mayor should produce Night Time Guidance for boroughs. This will help them develop holistic Night Time Strategies that go beyond the night time economy and cover all aspects of their town centres and other areas between 6pm and 6am.
  3. The Mayor should set up a London Night Time Data Observatory. This central hub of data on the economy, transport, licensing, infrastructure, safety and health would help boroughs create their Night Time Strategies and inform local decision making.
  4. The Mayor should publish an annual report on London at Night. It should include a series of night time metrics that show his progress in implementing the Night Time Commission’s recommendations and achieving the ambitions of his 24-Hour City Vision.
  5. The Mayor should establish a Night Time Enterprise Zone fund that boroughs can bid into, starting with a Pathfinder Zone in 2020.
  6. The Mayor should carry out research to establish the case for longer opening hours across London.
  7. The Mayor should help establish new partnerships across the capital to improve safety, reduce violence and make London welcoming for everyone at night.
  8. The Mayor should develop guidance to help boroughs, landowners and developers create welcoming, safe and vibrant public spaces at night.
  9. The Mayor should set up a Late Night Transport Working Group to ensure that workers, visitors and customers can get around London quickly and safely at night. The group should consider extending night services, introducing a ‘Night Rider’ fare that allows workers to move between bus, tube, train, DLR or tram in a single fare, and encourage more use of TfL’s land and buildings at night.
  10. The Mayor should extend the remit of London & Partners so that they can promote London’s night time offer to Londoners.

These are excellent recommendations that we hope will receive widespread support from leisure and hospitality businesses in the capital and users of their facilities alike.

Commenting on the report in a press release published by the Mayor of London/London Assembly:

Very encouragingly, the Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, said:

London’s night-time economy is integral to our success as a city – employing 1.6m and contributing billions to our economy. It plays a huge role in the daily life of Londoners and is a big draw for visitors to our capital, but for too long it has been an afterthought. 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.

Kate Nicholls, Chair of the London Night Time Commission, said:

London at night is dynamic and diverse. It’s a success story, with two-thirds of Londoners regularly active and 1.6m of us working. But, like the Mayor, 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.

Rommel Moseley, Deputy Chair of the London Night Time Commission, said:

The capital is one of the most vibrant cities in the world but if it is to retain its prominent position, policymakers must look ahead and innovate. That’s why the Mayor commissioned us to help realise his 24-hour vision for the capital and why we have looked at the wealth of activities and opportunities available to Londoners at all hours between 6pm and 6am. Never have we had such a clear view of our capital at night, yet there is still much to learn. That’s why we want to see even more work done to collect data on the night -time economy, as the Mayor and boroughs work together to expand the night-time economy in all corners of the capital.

Hopefully signalling possible changes to her Council’s hardline policy on licensing hours, Georgia Gould, Leader of Camden Council, said:

Camden’s vibrant nightlife is central to our economy, our creative industries, and is important to our attractiveness to residents, businesses and visitors. As a Council we are committed to a diverse and successful evening and night time economy in Camden. We fully support the London Night Time Commission’s recommendations to the Mayor – we are currently developing our evening and night time economy (ENTE) framework and we look forward to working with the GLA and other boroughs to ensure that London is a safe, exciting, and accessible 24-hour city.

With cumulative impact areas containing 36% of the licensed premises within the City of Westminster, including 64% of the night clubs, 35% of the pubs and pub restaurants and 49% of the restaurants and generate over 22% of all the evening and night time economy revenue in Westminster, Angela Harvey, Westminster City Council Chair of Licensing and Night Time Commission member was clearly careful with the wording of her statement, saying:

We’re very pleased to welcome the Commission’s recommendation that broad holistic night time strategies should be set at borough level.  As Westminster sits at the heart of evening and night time economy for London, we have seen enormous benefits making decisions locally, listening to and balancing the views and needs of visitors, businesses and residents alike. We also welcome the recommendation that the Mayor of London should develop central resources to assist boroughs who need more expertise to develop their evening and night time strategies. A successful city Like London is one that builds an evening and night time that lets people thrive, and we share this drive so that London’s continues to be the best in the world.

Sharon Ament, Museum of London Director, said:

London is one of the greatest 24hr capitals in the world with the night-time economy adding significantly to the wider vibrancy and success of our city. As we look towards our new home in West Smithfield, Farringdon – a place that truly comes alive in the night-time where revellers, workers, market traders and visitors converge – we’re busy thinking about how we as a museum can do even more. We’re exploring everything from extending our opening hours and how to put on the city’s best late-night events to keeping parts of the museum open into the dark hours. Alongside the night tube, appointing Amy Lamé as London’s first night Czar and now this work from the Night Time Commission, great strides have already been made and we’re looking forward to working with the Mayor and his team on these exciting proposals.

We thoroughly recommend that those interested in these recommendations should also read the Mayor of London’s November 2018 report entitled “London at night – an evidence base for a 24 hour city” (that can also be downloaded below). That report contains a wide range of research and data on London at night and follows on from July 2017’s “From good night to great night” report.