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London Mayor Sadiq Khan reveals Night Time Enterprise Zone plans to boost economy and live music scene

Councils across London can bid to become the first pilot zone and receive £75,000 to develop ideas that will support town centres at night

Mayor of London Sadiq Khan has revealed details of a new initiative aimed at boosting the capital’s live music scene and night time economy dubbed the Night Time Enterprise Zone.

The new scheme has been 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 provide 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 rolled out 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 aimed at making 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 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 the Mayor 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, and the night-time economy is estimated to be worth more than £26bn to the capital. The Commission has recommended that more is done to build on this work, with all activity between 6pm and 6am placed at the heart of City Hall’s plans for London.

Khan’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

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. 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.”

Lamé, added: “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, also commented: “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.”