London Night Time Commission unveils recommendations to bolster nightlife

Kate Malczewski

Kate Malczewski

31 January 2019

The London Night Time Commission, led by UK Hospitality chief Kate Nicholls, has today released its recommendations for the Mayor with the aim of bolstering the city’s economy between the hours of 6pm and 6am.

The group compiled their findings in a report with research and case studies of night-time activities in London’s boroughs.

‘The research has given us a portrait of London at night: how Londoners use their city at present and how they want to use their city going forward; what activities they would like to be able to engage in and what more needs to be done to allow them to do so,’ explained Nicholls, speaking at the launch of the report.

‘We set ourselves a broad and ambitious framework for our work, defining "night" more widely than it had ever been done before, from 6pm to 6am... We wanted to look beyond the transactional elements of the night time economy, to embrace its identity, culture and atmosphere.’

Key recommendations

In its recommendations, the commission called for the introduction of a ‘Night Test’, a system that would rate the impact of all new policies on night culture and business.

‘Our central finding and recommendation is that our city needs to plan better to ensure that life can thrive during the vital hours of 6pm to 6am, and the way we can do this is to introduce a Night Test at all policy levels,’ commented Nicholls.

The commission also proposed the setup of a London Night Time Data Observatory to act as a central hub of data on factors impacting the night economy.

‘We were submerged in data to look at the changes in licensed premises,’ said Night Time Commission vice chair Rommel Moseley. ‘If the Observatory was able to gain access such data, it would help inform boroughs about the trends that are happening.

‘For instance, in one borough we saw that the residents wanted more food-led pubs but were getting more wet-led and entertainment-led pubs. Therefore they weren't doing very well.’

Indeed, one distinct element of the report was the recognition that London’s night-time economy is less alcohol-focused than it was a decade ago, referencing data from CGA showing a decrease in the number of drinking outlets and wet-led pubs and an increase in food-led pubs and entertainment-led venues.

‘What we’re seeing is that it isn’t about traditional night time economy, which provides that buzz, but it’s about other activities, social activities, that can be stretched into the night,’ commented Moseley.

The committee offered 10 recommendations in total – read the full report here

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