City Hall has announced Bromley, Vauxhall and Woolwich as recipients of a new cash pot to boost high streets at night time, helping businesses stay open for longer into the night.
The Mayor of London’s office said a £0.5m fund would boost the economies of these parts of London after 6pm – with a package of events and business support. Sadiq Khan aspires to make London a 24-hour city.
What’s more, Camden, Enfield, Hackney, Harrow and Islington will receive extra cash to come up with ideas to make licensing easier for venues.
Funding will go towards making high streets more accessible and inclusive after dark, such as extending business opening hours and adding to the array of activities available in the evenings.
Events will include late-night hours for libraries and sport events, as well as nighttime markets.
Bromley, Lambeth and Greenwich boroughs will each be awarded £130,000, through the partnership with the London Economic Action Partnership (LEAP).
It comes as London’s nightlife has faced a host of challenges in recent months, with clubs citing an uptick in noise complaints following the pandemic and high street favourite Greggs struggling to extend its licensing for hot food into the early hours.
City Hall launched a pilot of the scheme in Waltham Forest in 2019, extending opening times, boosting promotion and launching. The pilot saw footfall increase on Walthamstow High Street by 22 per cent.
Businesses were “struggling due to the spiralling cost of doing business and the lasting impact of the pandemic,” Khan admitted.
He said the new enterprise zones would “bring innovative ideas” to support local areas at night, as they grappled with the economic tumult.
Schemes to make licensing more business-focused would be welcomed by venues, “particularly as it will provide some much-needed help in the current economic climate,” UKHospitality chief executive Kate Nicholls said.
Night czar Amy Lamé told CityA.M. this month that businesses had told her while they were “just about able to survive Covid”, London’s best nights-out were “absolutely on the precipice now,” due to the absence of similar support.
Although London was a “resilient city,” that would keep dancing on beyond this current crisis, Lamé said mass business failure in London could trigger a domino effect for the rest of the UK.
Venues have been hit with soaring energy, food and wage costs, as they seek to rebuild after the Covid-19 pandemic.
These mounting costs have resulted in 35 per cent of businesses anticipating they will be operating at a loss or unviable by the end of the year, a survey by UKHospitality, the British Beer and Pub Association (BBPA), the British Institute of Innkeeping (BII) and Hospitality Ulster, revealed.
Three-quarters of operators (77 per cent) said they were experiencing a decrease in people eating and drinking out due to the economic crunch.