Mayoral guidance urges London boroughs to encourage night-time activities

Boroughs should aim to 'encourage a wide range of night-time activities' including 'expanding existing culture and leisure venues', according to new planning guidance published by the mayor of London.

The mayor of London’s night czar Amy Lamé. Pic: Greater London Authority
The mayor of London’s night czar Amy Lamé. Pic: Greater London Authority

The Culture and the Night-time Economy Supplementary Planning Guidance has been published by mayor Sadiq Khan "to help protect, support and sustain London’s night-time venues", according to City Hall.

London’s nightclubs and live music venues have declined by almost a third since 2007, the document says, while the city has lost 35 per cent of its grassroots music venues.

The SPG states: "Planning policies and decisions should protect valued social, recreational and cultural facilities and services. They should ensure these facilities can develop and modernise, and are kept for community benefit.

Facilities "meeting the needs of particular groups (for example, LGBT+ community) should be protected" and the "loss of these facilities should be resisted".

It adds: "Boroughs should generally encourage a wide range of night-time activities. This includes expanding existing culture and leisure venues."

The SPG also gives advice on the "agent of change" principle, which means that the person or business responsible for any change via new development is responsible for managing its impact.

The document states that development proposals should also "not add unduly to the costs and administrative burdens of existing businesses", adding: "There should be no prospect of unreasonable neighbour complaints, licensing restrictions or threat of closure."

The SPG also includes advice on protecting pubs and making sure new schemes are designed to allow access for older and disabled people.

It further calls for the mayor and boroughs to "recognise, improve and manage the country’s largest concentration of night-time activities in Soho and Covent Garden".

The SPG was published in Camden’s Electric Ballroom by London’s "night czar" Amy Lamé on Friday on the first anniversary of her appointment. 

A City Hall statement said: "This SPG sets out the Mayor’s preferred approach and local planning authorities are strongly encouraged to follow this approach." It added that the SPG would "help ensure that existing policy is used as effectively as possible to protect London’s nightlife".

According to City Hall the new London Plan, which will be published in draft later this month, will be "the most pro-cultural ever and will include strong policies supporting the night-time economy".

It said the plan would strengthen the agent of change principle, which "will mean that developers building new properties near existing venues will be responsible for ensuring their properties are adequately soundproofed and designed to reduce sound from nearby pubs, clubs and live music venues".

The SPG can be found here

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