Will London authorities buy into the London Night Time Commission report findings? Paddy Whur looks at its conclusions.
Readers may have already seen the report by the London Night Time Commission which was published at the end of January. For those who haven’t had the opportunity of reading this in full, please click on the link below.
This is a very interesting document which has been created by the London Night Time Commission. The commission is made up of a varied sector of people ranging from industry representatives to a commander in the Metropolitan Police Service, Kate Nicholls the chief executive of UK Hospitality and various London borough personalities.
The recommendations to come out of the report have been fed into the Mayor of London to consider shaping any future policy. The recommendations are as follows:
- The Mayor should put the night at the heart of London policy making. He should introduce a Night Test for all new policies to rate their impact on London’s culture, sociability, wellbeing and the economy at night.
- 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 aspect of their town centres and over areas between 6pm and 6am.
- 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.
- The Mayor should publish an annual report on London at night. It should include a series of night time metrics that shows his progress in implementing the night time commission’s recommendations and achieving the ambitions of his 24 hour city vision.
- The Mayor should establish a Night Time Enterprise Zone fund that boroughs can bid into, starting with a path finder zone in 2020.
- The Mayor should carry out research to establish the case for longer opening hours across London.
- The Mayor should help establish new partnerships across the capital to improve safety, reduce violence and make London welcoming for everyone at night.
- The Mayor should develop guidance to help boroughs, landowners and developers create welcoming, safe and vibrant public spaces at night.
- The Mayor should set up a Late Night Transport Working Group to ensure that workers, visitors and customers can get around London quickly and safety 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.
- The Mayor should extend the remit of London and partners so that they can promote London’s night time offer to Londoners.
These recommendations are dealt with in detail in the report which is well worth a read.
Moving into action from this report will be very interesting. Clearly, every London borough has its own approach to the night time economy in its specific area. Most London boroughs have very specific localised statements of licensing policy which have been developed over a significant period of time.
It will not be easy to integrate any London-wide recommendations suggested in the report on a local basis and there would be much work to do at a local level to take up these recommendations.
The main suggestion in the report is that the London Night Time Data Observatory would be created to centralise data on the economy, transport, licensing, infrastructure, safety and health, to inform policy makers.
The high street faces significant challenge in its retail function and many believe that a mixture of residential and leisure opportunities will replace some of the dying retail operators. There is real vision in this thorough report. Kate Nicholls states, “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.” These are laudable aims but they come with a considerable challenge. We have found it is particularly difficult to challenge stress areas and cumulative impact policies where boroughs have deemed that it would be detrimental to the licensing objectives of crime and disorder and public nuisance to either add additional sites or increase the hours of operation. There would need to be a considerable change of emphasis at a local level if the hopes contained in the report stand a realistic chance of having a practical impact.
We will continue to monitor the development of the issues raised in this policy statement.