London Mayor Sadiq Khan has announced Walthamstow High Street as the capital’s first Night Time Enterprise Zone.
Waltham Forest will receive £75,000 in funding from City Hall to become a pilot zone for testing and and developing ideas to boost town centres, support local businesses and improve access to shops and services after 6pm.
These include offering entrepreneurs low-cost and flexible business spaces to hire in the evenings; establishing a new fund to help business and community groups host events after 6pm; and creating a step-by-step guide for night-time businesses to help them apply for planning and licensing approval.
The trial, which will run from October 2019 to January 2020, is part of the Mayor of London’s ambition to make the capital a leading 24-hour global city.
It comes after research that revealed that 92% of councils in England believe that the night-time economy can be key in preventing the decline of high street retail.
By being named the first Night Time Enterprise Zone, Waltham Forest hopes to build on the success of its year as the Mayor’s inaugural London Borough of Culture.
Khan said: “Our high streets are at the very heart of our communities, but in recent years we have seen them struggling under significant pressures.
“By working together to encourage longer opening hours and host innovative events after 6pm, this pilot in Walthamstow will be a real opportunity to develop the ideas that can boost our high streets and help realise our vision for a 24-hour city.”
Kate Nicholls, chair of the Night Time Commission and chief executive of UKHospitality, added: “Our report identified a real opportunity to use London’s diverse and dynamic life at night to support London’s high streets. I look forward to seeing the impact that more culture offerings and activities after 6pm will have on Walthamstow High Street."