The borough councils of Bromley, Lambeth and Greenwich will each be awarded £130,000 in funding to develop ways of making streets more welcoming after 6pm and boosting night time businesses.
It follows a successful pilot of the scheme in Walthamstow in 2019 which saw opening times extended and greater promotion of late-night events, resulting in a 22 per cent increase in footfall.
London’s Night Czar Amy Lamé said the Night Time Enterprise Zones will “provide fantastic opportunities to make the most of our high streets around the clock” and will help to “drive forward our economic recovery”.
She said: “These new zones allow us to work in partnership with boroughs to provide a boost to businesses, communities and the wellbeing of night workers and help us to pioneer better ways of living, working and doing business after dark.”
The three new zones were chosen following an open bidding process between June and July this year in which 18 boroughs submitted bids.
Mayor of London Sadiq Khan said: “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. I am committed to doing all I can to support them during these challenging times and am proud that we are creating three Night Time Enterprise Zones to bring innovative ideas that will support our high streets after 6pm.”
In Bromley, the council is planning to introduce library lates and post-6pm sporting events, as well as night markets and winter light displays. Vauxhall will celebrate the area’s LGBTQ history in partnership with popular venue the Royal Vauxhall Tavern.
Greenwich Council will use the funds to deliver a “year-round mix of events” in Woolwich aimed at promoting it as a late night destination.
But the decision to name Woolwich as a Night Time Enterprise Zone has raised eyebrows after it was recently revealed Greenwich Council spent £10,000 to fence off a large area of the town centre to prevent people gathering on Halloween and Bonfire Night.
The decision came following disorder over Halloween and Bonfire Night last year whereby four police officers were injured after individuals started throwing “hundreds” of lit fireworks at each other and members of the public.
General Gordon Square, located next to Woolwich Arsenal Station, was closed to the public for two weeks from October 24 this year at a cost of £10,000 to the council.
Greenwich Council leader Anthony Okereke said the decision to name Woolwich as a Night Time Enterprise Zone was an “exciting opportunity to develop a more vibrant, diverse and inclusive night-time economy in Woolwich”.
He said: “The Night Time Enterprise Zone will boost our ongoing work to encourage more people to support Woolwich businesses and spend time in our high streets. We want our residents and businesses to feel the benefit of this. Our involvement in the programme should help build confidence in the town centre as a night time destination, connecting the growing night time activity on the Arsenal with the town centre and boosting Woolwich’s profile as a ‘lates’ destination. We look forward to working with local businesses and communities to develop a programme that brings enduring benefits for the area.”