The evening and night-time economy

Versatility can be the making of a great town centre. An arena that poses a big challenge in achieving versatility is a transition that takes place everyday from the day-time economy to the evening economy. With this shift, the uses of the town centre change dramatically with individuals and businesses shifting their needs accordingly.

While it can be difficult to cope with many of the changes, the basics remain the same. A town centre must strive to offer a clean, safe, vibrant and engaging environment for different types of people. Here, you can find a number of schemes to make this a possibility during the evening and night-time.

86. Planning for the evening

It is important to plan for the evening economy. In the context of current legislation, it is vital to understand how anti-social behaviour can be minimised while ensuring the town centre encourages a vibrant night scene. This can be achieved with the help of evening economy businesses, local police, transport operation and CCTV provision.

A detailed and achievable plan which draws on a town centre's strengths and weaknesses in the evening must be developed and implemented in consultation with the relevant stakeholders.

87. Managing the transition between day and night

A shift between day and night-time activities bring a number of problems for town centres. As the business day ends and a large flux of workers simultaneously make the commute home, pressure is placed on transport infrastructure causing congestion and pollution. Rusholme at night This is compounded by lost opportunities for town centre businesses as there is a lull in activity on the high street until the evening economy gathers pace.

With careful planning, the transition from day to evening can be a profitable duration for the high street. Ideas such as working with retailers to agree later closing times could entice many town centre workers to stay in the centre a little longer, cutting congestion at peak times and increasing custom for the retail and service sectors.

Hosting a range of activities with the help of leisure and hospitality sectors could also be positive in increasing activity on the high street during a period when it can be quiet.

88. Promotion of late night transport

The lack of frequent, efficient and safe public transport late at night, or at least the perception thereof, could be having a detrimental affect on your night-time economy. As such, one way of increasing night-time visitor numbers is to promote late night travel provision.

This could be done in a number of ways, including announcements made inside bars and clubs at the end of a night to inform people of their options for getting home.

89. Taxi marshal scheme

Taxi ranks late at night are often hotspots for anti-social behaviour. This problem can be alleviated through a taxi marshal scheme, part-funded by cab drivers. It would encourage people to form an orderly queue for their taxi, eliminating potential flashpoints and moving people quickly and efficiently out of the town centre.

90. Late night bus service

Increasing the number of late night buses is a good way of encouraging visitors and moving potentially inebriated revellers out of the town centre quickly. Funding for this increased service could be part-funded by local bars and clubs.

91. Purple Flag

The Purple Flag scheme has been set up to establish national standards and raise the image of Britain's town centres at night. By meeting the standards set by Purple Flag, a great night-time offer can be developed by town centres.

The scheme has been developed by The Association of Town Centre Management (ATCM) to recognise excellence in the management of town and city centres after dark. Obtaining a Purple Flag shows that a town's night-time economy offers clean and safe environments, great bars and clubs, a variety of arts and cultural attractions and excellent transport links.

Purple Flag is supported by the Home Office, Association of Chief Police Officers (ACPO), the Local Authorities Coordinators of Regulatory Services (LACORS), Diageo and many other organisations.

92. Dedicated ambassadors for the evening economy

Evening ambassadors can improve the night scene in a town centre by acting as liaisons between the police, door staff, licensees and the CCTV control room.

Bolton has pioneered a night-time management structure that involves the employment of ambassadors for the evening economy. The aim is to reduce alcohol-related anti-social behaviour and reassure the public that the town centre is a safe place to visit at night. An evening economy manager and three evening ambassadors have been employed in the past. Their tasks included organising seminars for door staff and licensees and collating data on problem customers and venues.

93. Light Night

Light night

For one night a high street can stay open for business so that its attractions and symbols are seen in a new light - literally. Light Night is an initiative where visitors get to see the unusual in a familiar environment and 'lose themselves' in the town centre, which is transformed into a stage for the night. Light Night is a great showcase for gaining wide public interest and participation so that people ‘buy into' their high street overnight. A key element of the programme in each town centre is that all events are free.

Light Night is a chance for everyone to come together and celebrate the city, focusing on their shared culture, history and identity. It is a national programme of events supported by ATCM which covers the whole of the UK.

Light Night website

94. Accreditation scheme for licensed premises

While licensees are already required to meet a set of basic standards in order to retain their license, they can still attract anti-social behaviour. Implementing an accreditation scheme provides an incentive to raise management standards leading to a safer evening economy.

If the rewards in terms of publicity, credibility and ultimately, high-quality custom are great enough for licensed businesses, then they will be willing to apply.

95. Case studies

Summer sounds better in Colchester

This programme of live music in the streets was developed in partnership between Colchester Town Partnership, Colchester Crime and Disorder Partnership, retail and leisure businesses. This was done with a view to bridging the daytime and evening economies. It encouraged shops to stay open later and motivated office workers to stay in town longer, leading to reduced traffic congestion and an enhanced café culture.

With match funding from the East of England Community Safety Fund and Colchester Town Partnership, the project ran from July to September. A list of local musicians was collated and matched with suitable venues around the town, including outside shops, cafes, bars and restaurants, in shopping centres and the local music library.

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1 June 2015

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