Bromley town centre, Vauxhall and Woolwich have each been awarded £130,000 by Sadiq Khan to help develop their evening and night time economies as London strives to recover from the effects of the pandemic and deal with the expected recession.
The announcement of the three Night Time Enterprise Zones follows a trial scheme in Waltham Forest, conducted in 2019, involving extended opening times for entertainment venues, special events and greater promotion, which City Hall says increased footfall on Walthamstow High Street by nearly a quarter.
Camden, Enfield, Hackney, Harrow and Islington councils are other recipients of funding, to the tune of £25,000 apiece, for piloting ideas for making “licensing policies and processes less time consuming and costly for local businesses” in City Hall’s words.
The awards were announced yesterday by Mayor Khan and Night Czar Amy Lamé at Woolwich Town Hall, Greenwich, following a visit to Woolwich Works, a performance, event and creative activity venue run by the Woolwich Creative District Trust.
The Woolwich award is to support a year-round mixture of post-6pm events and the creation of special low-level lighting to connect Woolwich Town centre with nearby Royal Arsenal and make the district more safe and welcoming.
The money for Vauxhall will be spent by Lambeth Council partly to fund murals created by local artists to illustrate area’s LGBTQI+ history and partly to identify locations in the area that could be used for “after dark” cultural, leisure and educational activities.
The Bromley town centre grant will go towards high street winter lights and markets, together with a promotional campaign, and enable libraries to stay open later. There will be a general enhancement of Bromley high street’s lighting too. The area’s business improvement district group, Your Bromley, worked with the council on its successful proposals.
Lamé said the new zones will provide “a real boost will provide fantastic opportunities to make the most of our high streets around the clock and drive forward our economic recovery” and “allow us to work in partnership with boroughs to provide a boost to businesses, communities and the wellbeing of night workers”.
Khan praised the zones as enabling “innovative ideas that will support our high streets after 6pm”, stressing that “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.”
Separately, the Mayor was scathing yesterday about Chancellor Jeremy Hunt’s autumn statement, which he said will usher in “Austerity 2.0” and didn’t do enough for small businesses, particularly those still recovering from the pandemic.
Photograph: Bromley Market from Trip Adviser website.
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