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Walthamstow to become London’s first Night Time Enterprise Zone

Walthamstow High Street will become London’s first Night Time Enterprise Zone, the Mayor of London Sadiq Khan has announced.

Waltham Forest has been chosen as the first London borough to trial the scheme, which will try out ideas to boost town centres, support local businesses and improve access to London’s shops and services at night.

The pilot zone, which will receive £75,000 funding and will run from this October to January 2020, has been created by Khan in response to a report from London’s Night Time Commission.

It found that giving shops and public buildings longer opening hours between 6pm and 6am could prevent the decline of high street retail, boosting London’s economic activity.

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.’

The pilot will see Waltham Forest try out numerous ideas for London’s high streets on Walthamstow High Street.

These will include offering entrepreneurs low-cost business spaces to hire at night, and establishing a new fund to help businesses and community groups host events after 6pm.

Other ideas the council may try out are hosting a ‘reclaim your high street’ event, helping night-time businesses apply for planning and licencing approval, and encouraging evening shopping with a new evening map and events listings.

The results of the pilot will be used to shape future plans across London as the Mayor looks to boost the capital’s night-time economy.

Clare Coghill, leader of Waltham Forest Council, said: ‘We are delighted to be chosen as the Mayor of London’s first-ever Night Time Enterprise Zone as it will help us build on our existing work to encourage more people to use local businesses later in the day.

‘We will be talking to our business community and residents to develop a programme which makes sure every pound for this pilot projects brings lasting benefits.’

Khan has worked extensively on improving London’s night-time culture since he became Mayor of the city in 2016.

Work he has already completed includes setting up a Night Time Borough Champions Network to share best practice across the capital, creating London’s first Night Czar, and launching the Night Tube as well as establishing a Women’s Night Safety Charter.

Photo Credit – Pixabay

Chris Ogden
Digital News Reporter

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