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The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan has announced that Bromley town centre, Vauxhall and Woolwich are set to become the capital’s new Night Time Enterprise Zones.

London’s nightlife was devastated by the impact of the pandemic and with businesses now battling the spiralling costs of operating, the Mayor is doing all he can to encourage more people to use their high streets after 6pm and boost the local economy.

The boroughs of Bromley, Lambeth and Greenwich will each be awarded £130k to develop a range of activities and programmes to make their streets more welcoming after 6pm and supporting businesses, encouraging more Londoners to use their local high streets at night.

In partnership with the London Economic Action Partnership (LEAP), the funding will allow the boroughs to work with businesses and local communities to develop ideas to make their high streets more accessible, inclusive and welcoming at night.

This includes extending opening hours and offering a greater range of activities that encourage a diverse range of people to make use of the high street after 6pm. It will also support the number of night workers benefitting from good work standards.

In Vauxhall, the council is identifying sites within the area that could be used to support culture, entertainment, leisure, and wellbeing after dark.

Woolwich will be delivering a year-round mix of events, encouraging locals and those in other boroughs to think of them as a ‘lates’ destination. They will also be creating a low level sustainable lighting scheme connecting the town centre and the Royal Arsenal, improving safety and create a more welcoming destination for all.

Bromley will bring the high street to life with events such as library lates and sporting lates - allowing an after dark experience and exclusive access - winter lights and night markets, accompanied by a campaign to raise the profile of the town centre. In addition to this, new ambient lighting will be installed as part of work to make the pedestrianised high street more welcoming.

The announcement follows the success of a Night Time Enterprise Zone pilot in Waltham Forest in 2019, where extended opening times, events, increased promotion and repurposing council-owned buildings helped to increase footfall on Walthamstow High Street by 22 per cent.

Camden, Enfield, Hackney, Harrow and Islington are also set to receive £25k each to pilot ideas that make licensing policies and processes less time consuming and costly for local businesses. This is part of the Mayor’s work to support the capital’s night time businesses to recover from the effects of the pandemic.

The Mayor is determined to do all he can to make London a fair, inclusive and sustainable 24 hour city. This includes supporting night time businesses that have been impacted by the pandemic and the spiralling costs of doing business, so they can help drive our economic and social recovery.

He has introduced the first-of-its-kind Women’s Night Safety Charter for councils, businesses and venues to prioritise women’s safety at night, produced world-leading guidance for councils to develop Night Time Strategies and is offering evidence and insight through the Night Time Data Observatory to help decision making.

Culture and Community Spaces At Risk programme is also providing dedicated advice and guidance for the most at risk night time spaces, including grassroots live music and LGBTQI+ venues.

Sadiq stated, “Local businesses and high streets are at the heart of our communities, but they are struggling due to the spiralling cost of doing business and the lasting impact of the pandemic.

'I am committed to doing all I can to support them during these challenging times and am proud that we are creating three Night Time Enterprise Zones to bring innovative ideas that will support our high streets after 6pm.

'We all have a role to play to support our local businesses and help drive forward our economic recovery as we continue working to build a better and more prosperous London for everyone.”

Amy Lamé, Night Czar, said, “With two thirds of people active at night, our new Night Time Enterprise Zones will provide fantastic opportunities to make the most of our high streets around the clock and drive forward our economic recovery.

'These new zones allow us to work in partnership with boroughs to provide a boost to businesses, communities and the wellbeing of night workers and help us to pioneer better ways of living, working and doing business after dark.”

(source: https://www.london.gov.uk, image: pexels)