Why it’s more important than ever to plan for London at night
2 May 2019
London is a global cultural capital city. We are renowned for our world-class theatres, bars, pubs and clubs – but our night-time economy is so much more than this. From hospitality to security, the NHS to transport, London has 1.6 million night-time workers who make up one third of the capital’s workforce. It contributes billions to the economy and is growing faster than the wider economy, yet until now it’s not had the focus it truly deserves.
That is why Sadiq Khan set out his vision for 24-hour London, created the role of Night Czar, and appointed the Night Time Commission. He wants to ensure that London’s economy at night flourishes and works for all Londoners, and has pledged to plan for life at night in the same way the city does for the day.
I’m working closely with local authorities, developers and residents to ensure a balanced and sustainable approach to London’s life at night. I’m championing small businesses and community centres, and supporting our night-time cultural venues. I am also working closely with the Met and the Mayor’s Office for Policing and Crime to make sure women, who make up a third of those working regularly at night, feel safe navigating the city at night.
We have worked with the Night Time Commission to carry out comprehensive, world-leading research into our city at night. The ‘London at Night’ report is the most comprehensive study into any city at night and its findings have been compelling. It revealed that two-thirds of Londoners are regularly active at night, 50 per cent of night bus journeys are taken for work, and that jobs in the night-time industries are growing faster than the wider economy.It is clear that Londoners are not limiting their lives to certain times of day or night, and it is our duty to respond to their needs around the clock.
There are, without a doubt, definite challenges for London’s night time offering, with pressure from rents, rates and development. But we are working hard to keep London’s life at night as an example to the rest of the world. Through the Mayor’s Culture at Risk Office we have supported more than 200 night-time venues threatened with closure. In December new planning rules were used for the first time to ensure the survival of a West End nightclub, in January we helped to save the historic George Tavern in Tower Hamlets, and in March we helped the owners of The Social secure their future as part of a phenomenal crowdfunding campaign.
There is so much to celebrate and cherish about London’s varied night-time economy. It is an integral part of our success as a city and you can be sure that we will continue to do all we can to make sure London works for all, 24-hours a day.
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