Pilot Night Time Enterprise Zone announced by Mayor of London

In a move likely to be welcomed by many in the hospitality industry, the Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, has announced a new Night Time Enterprise Zone programme intended to boost the capital’s high streets at night, alongside what is described as “an innovative new partnership” to support London’s live music scene.

London boroughs have been invited to become the pilot Night Time Enterprise Zone. They can apply for up to £75,000 and must provide match funding. The pilot will take place later this year. More details on the application process can be found here.

An announcement on the Mayor’s website, published yesterday, states as follows:

A new Night Time Enterprise Zone is to be created to help councils, businesses and residents test new ideas to boost their high streets after 6pm. Councils across the capital can now bid to become the first pilot zone and receive £75,000 to develop ideas that will support town centres at night.

The pilot zone will be an opportunity for a borough to trial a range of approaches for the high street – such as running night-time markets, testing longer opening hours, or helping shops and hotels host cultural events. The results of the pilot will be used to shape future plans across the capital.

The announcement comes after research revealed that 92 per cent of councils in England believe that the night-time economy can be key in preventing the decline of high street retail.

To support and promote the music industry, the Mayor has also announced today that he has helped to fund a new Safer Sounds Partnership.

Led by the music industry and part of the Safer Business Network, it will unite venue operators and event organisers with police and council licensing teams, and the Night Czar Amy Lamé.

The partnership is designed to make it easier for organisers to put on live music events and safer for music fans by promoting high standards and offering support and training. It will support venues and help to bring consistent licensing practice across the capital, addressing concerns about unfair treatment of artists. This follows the controversial risk assessment Form 696 which was scrapped by the Metropolitan Police after the Mayor requested a review.

Both new initiatives have been announced in the Mayor’s response to a report by his Night Time Commission. Earlier this year the Commission made recommendations to Sadiq after he appointed the panel to help realise his vision for London as a 24-hour city.

A third of London’s workers usually work at night(2), and the night-time economy is estimated to be worth more than £26bn to the capital(3). The Commission has recommended that even more is done to build on this success, with all activity between 6pm and 6am placed at the heart of City Hall’s plans for London.

Sadiq’s response to the recommendations includes:

  • The Night Czar convening a quarterly 24-hour London delivery group at City Hall to assess the impact of policies on London at night
  • The Night Czar and Night Time Borough Champions Network working together to produce guidance for boroughs to develop night-time strategies
  • Creating a Night Time Data Observatory to build a full picture of the capital at night
  • Reporting progress on the Commission’s recommendations as part of the Mayor’s Annual Report
  • Creating a Night Time Enterprise Zone pilot scheme to help a borough develop its night-time offer
  • Conducting research into the benefits of longer opening hours across London
  • Championing partnerships across the capital that support the night-time economy and investing in the creation of the Safer Sounds Partnership
  • Including guidance on improving public spaces at night as part of the work to develop borough night-time strategies
  • Establishing a Late-Night Transport Working Group to ensure transport meets the needs of London’s night workers
  • Continuing to support London & Partners in their work to promote the capital’s 24-hour tourism offer

The Mayor has committed to ensuring that London’s night-time culture meets the needs of all Londoners, and has pledged to plan for life at night in the same way the city does for the day. His work has already included teaming up with local authorities and developers to help safeguard night-time culture venues, including setting up a Night Time Borough Champions Network, chaired by his Night Czar. He also launched the Night Tube and Night Overground, and established the Women’s Night Safety Charter.

Sadiq Khan, is quoted on the website as saying:

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. Our new Night Time Enterprise Zone will help to boost high streets by delivering innovative ideas that will draw Londoners to their town centres after 6pm, while the Safer Sounds Partnership will provide support for and drive up standards across the music industry. The bold initiatives we’re taking forward will help ensure the capital works for everyone at night.

Night Czar, Amy Lamé, has said:

Our capital is alive at night, with two-thirds of Londoners regularly active and 1.6m working between 6pm-6am. It is an essential part of our life in the capital, but until now has not had the focus it deserves. We’re proud to be a champion for all aspects of London at night, and through our Night Time Enterprise Zone pilot we will see how innovation can be used to boost our high streets. London’s live music scene makes a huge contribution to our capital after dark, and I’m delighted that the Safer Sounds Partnership will enable venues and promoters to work together with police and councils to help London’s music scene thrive.

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

I am really delighted that the Mayor has responded so positively to the recommendations set out in our report and listened carefully to the views Londoners gave us about how best to improve the life of the city at night. 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.  Giving local communities the power to influence decisions and drive investment and change on their high streets is a welcome step to ensuring that London’s life at night remains world class.

Hannah Wadey, CEO Safer Business Network, has said:

I am proud that Safer Business Network is working with the Mayor of London on this new and exciting initiative to support his vision for a 24-hour city. Safer Sounds Partnership represents a real commitment to bring together the live music industry, police and local authorities to raise standards and celebrate our music events.

Jasmine Whitbread, Chief Executive of London First, has said:

London’s high streets are struggling against a backdrop of higher business rates and online competition, so this is welcome move that takes the capital a step closer to becoming a truly 24-hour city. The night-time economy is expected to grow by £2bn every year by 2030, and consumers are increasingly demanding a 24-hour live-work-eat-play lifestyle. It is vital that London boroughs take advantage of the pilot and abandon rigid, 20th century planning rules based on a 9-5 high street, to realise the full potential of the night-time economy.

Eddie Curzon, CBI London Director, has said:

London’s reputation as one of the world’s most vibrant and culturally enriching cities is crucial to its future growth. Measures like Night Time Enterprise Zones could provide both businesses and Londoners more opportunity to benefit from, and enjoy, the capital’s vibrant night time economy. We look forward to working with both businesses and the Mayor to help to make London a sustainable, 24-hour city.

In terms of background, we reported in February this year on an extremely thorough and well-considered report published by the Night Time Commission, entitled “Think Night – London’s neighbourhoods from 6pm to 6am”. That report:

  • maintained that London’s successful night-time economy can play a major role in helping to save the capital’s struggling high streets and
  • set out the Commission’s ten policy recommendations to the Mayor of London.

At that time, we recommended that those interested in the above-mentioned policy 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 contained a wide range of research and data on London at night and followed on from July 2017’s “From good night to great night” report.

Yesterday’s announcement on the Mayor of London’s website also draws attention to the following:
  1. A report by the LGiU and the Portman Group about the night-time economy, that received 111 responses, covering all English regions and 91 councils (5 Counties; 45 Districts; 18 Unitaries; 8 London Boroughs; 15 Metropolitan Unitaries) and
  2. Analysis undertaken for London First in association with EY, that shows the economic value of London’s 24 hour economy