Local authorities will be given the chance to bid for City Hall funding to boost local night time economies following a successful trial in Walthamstow in 2019.
Mayor of London Sadiq Khan has announced the launch of a £500,000 scheme which will see three new “Night Time Enterprise Zones” established across London in a bid to boost the capital’s nightlife sector following the COVID-19 pandemic.
Grants of up to £130,000 will be available to local authorities to boost activity on the high street after 6pm, including by extending opening hours, improving access to shops and services and improving safety for women and girls.
It follows a successful pilot in Walthamstow in 2019 which saw post-6pm footfall increase by 22 percent and a wider range of people using shops and services at night.
Khan said the pilot “showed what is possible for our town centres at night” and that introducing more Night Time Enterprise Zones in London will “help local authorities and businesses make their high streets more welcoming and inclusive after 6pm”.
Amy Lamé, London’s Night Czar, said: “Our city is incredibly active at night, but too often our high streets shut down from 6pm, offering no reason for people to be there. We have an opportunity to work in partnership to boost local businesses, communities and the wellbeing of night workers across the capital.
“Through our Night Time Enterprise Zone programme we want to help reimagine our high streets with innovative ideas and help councils, communities and businesses to pioneer better ways of living, working and doing business.”
Councils wishing to apply for funding are being encouraged to take steps to make high streets more accessible at night through better provision of transport, including walking and cycling infrastructure.
Guidance from City Hall also recommends that funds should be used to ensure good working conditions for those employed in the night time sector.
The report into the 2019 pilot in Walthamstow found that investment in the night time economy provided a “wealth of opportunities to reimagine and animate high streets later into the evening” and that it need not result in a “monoculture based on alcohol consumption”.