Amy Lamé publishes guidance to protect night-time economy and culture on her first anniversary as London’s first-ever Night Czar

Friday 3 November 2017

New guidance to help protect, support and sustain London’s night-time venues has today been published by Amy Lamé on the first anniversary of her appointment as London’s first-ever Night Czar.

The Mayor of London’s new guidance for local authorities and developers provides urgently needed support to safeguard night-time economy and culture venues. London has lost almost half of its night clubs and a third of its grassroots music venues since 20071, a quarter of its pubs since 20012 and a staggering 58 per cent of its LGBT+ venues since 20063.  Local authorities have a huge part to play in helping the night-time economy thrive. The new guidance sets out how they can ensure new homes co-exist with current live music venues, night clubs and pubs, by encouraging local authority planning, licensing and noise teams to work together.

This guidance is published ahead of the draft London Plan, the city-wide planning framework. The new London Plan published later this month, will be the most pro-cultural ever and will include strong policies supporting the night-time economy.

Amy is publishing the Mayor’s new guidance now, so that boroughs are able to take immediate action to ensure London’s night-time economy and culture remains the most vibrant and diverse on the planet.

She launched this guidance at the Electric Ballroom, the iconic grassroots music venue in Camden where she has worked in collaboration with the owners and Camden Council to increase its capacity for live music events. This will help the venue to meet rising costs as a result of the rise in business rates earlier this year.

Amy Lamé was appointed Night Czar by the Mayor one year ago, and was tasked with ensuring London thrives as a 24-hour city – championing the capital’s night-time economy and culture, safeguarding venues across the city and acting as an advocate for London’s diverse, world-renowned night life.

Achievements during her first year as Night Czar include: 

  • Helping to protect dozens of venues around the city, using her convening powers to bring together business owners, developers, police, residents, community groups, local authorities and customers to reach positive outcomes. In her first days as Night Czar, Amy worked with the Metropolitan Police, Islington Council and the owners of iconic night club Fabric to safeguard its future
  • Other venues that Amy has been able to support in her capacity as Night Czar include the George Tavern in Stepney Green, where the ‘Agent of Change’ principle4 was used by planners to safeguard the venue against a nearby development; the Rio Cinema in Dalston, which the GLA funded £40,000 for a refurbishment through Crowdfund London; and the Electric Ballroom in Camden, which used GLA research as supporting evidence to increase its capacity to mitigate the effects of an increase in business rates
  • Following reports of declining venues numbers across the city, Amy published research on the number of grassroots music venues, pubs and LGBT+ venues in London. To monitor progress properly in the future, Amy committed to an annual audit, to track growth and identify venues most at risk, and published a report on the impact of business rates rises for music venues
  • Working with a number of LGBT+ venues and organisations, Amy published an LGBT+ Venues Charter with the Mayor to encourage new LGBT+ venues to open in the city. Since this research was published, Amy has stepped in to help ensure that Molly Moggs in Soho remained an LGBT+ venue when it reopened as The Compton Cross and a landmark case to ensure a redevelopment that demolishes The Joiners Arms in Hoxton replaces it with an LGBT+ venue
  • Developing the Mayor’s Vision for London as a 24-hour city, alongside Chair of the Night Time Commission, Philip Kolvin QC. The Vision sets out 10 principles for the development of London’s night-time economy and culture
  • Chairing the London Music Board – and has kickstarted the Mayor’s review of Form 696, a Met Police risk assessment for music events which venues and promoters claim disproportionately affects grime and urban artists
  • Setting up a Night-time Economy liaison group with the Metropolitan Police and the Mayor’s Office for Policing and Crime (MOPAC) to support and promote good practice in the management of the night-time economy 
  • Holding London’s first-ever Women’s Safety Summit. Alongside Deputy Mayors for Policing, Transport and Culture, she is now working to develop a city-wide Women’s Safety Charter, to make London one of the safest and most welcoming cities for women at night  
  • Holding night surgeries across the city, speaking with night-time workers, business owners, police, council, health service and transport workers, residents, MPs, councillors and members of the public. Amy has held night surgeries in Kingston, Croydon, Waltham Forest, Hackney, with the Security Industry Association (SIA at the Ministry of Sound) and during the launch of the Piccadilly Line Night Tube – visiting venues in Wood Green, Finchley Park, Bloomsbury, the West End and Heathrow Airport 
  • Learning from cities across the UK and around the world, sharing good practice and inspiring other cities to appoint Night Czars, including Manchester, New York and Helsinki

Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, said: “In just one year, London’s first ever Night Czar Amy Lamé has already made great progress in championing London’s world-renowned night-time economy and culture.

“Her role in bringing people across the night-time economy together – from business owners, night-time workers, police and transport officers, residents, developers, local authorities and revellers – has been crucial to developing my vision of a 24-hour city that truly works for all Londoners.

“Although lots of excellent work has been achieved so far, there’s much more to be done to ensure that venues across the city don’t just survive but thrive far into the future – creating the world’s best and most diverse night life.” 

Night Czar, Amy Lamé, said: “I’ve loved every minute of my work as Night Czar. In my first few weeks in the job, I was bowled over by the number of people who called me to share their frustrations, their aspirations and their passion for London’s incredible night life.

“What’s been really encouraging is the way that, for the first time, people from across London’s night-time economy and culture are coming together to find ways to transform London into a 24-hour city.

“The thing I’ve most enjoyed about being London’s Night Czar is meeting Londoners out and about on my night surgeries. From security workers to mixologists, nurses to tube drivers – London really comes alive at night. The stories I hear are fascinating and inspiring. As I look ahead, one of my key focuses will be looking at how the workplaces of night-time employees can be improved.” 

Owner of the Electric Ballroom, Kate Fuller, said: “The Electric Ballroom has been in my immediate family since 1938. It is a piece of history. Old and new venues are important in supporting live music. They must be protected. Amy is our voice now, long may it last!“ 

Councillor Richard Olszewski, Cabinet Member for Finance and Transformation at Camden Council, said: “Camden’s music and cultural venues are world-famous, creating jobs and attracting many visitors to our borough. We welcome the Night Czar’s new guidance which will help further strengthen our night-time economy, allowing us to enhance our diverse cultural offer while maintaining local residents’ safety through appropriate licensing and public protection measures.”

Supt. Roy Smith, Metropolitan Police, said: “We have formed an excellent working relationship with Amy during her first year at Night Czar, which has helped demonstrate that a vibrant, world class night-time economy is essential for a safe London. Having such a close liaison with someone who understands the night-time economy so well has allowed us the opportunity to listen and respond to feedback in a far more constructive fashion and I look forward to our work continuing.” 

Chief Executive of the Night Time Industries Association (NTIA), Jack Hopkins, said: “Amy Lame as London and Britain’s 1st Night Czar has already made a huge impact and changed the mood music around how the Night Time Economy is seen and dealt with. She’s been instrumental in the protection of specific venues but most importantly has been a powerful and coherent voice coming from City Hall giving confidence to the sector that the future is bright. If this is a measure of what she’s achieved in year 1 then we can’t wait to see what next year holds.” 

Strategic Director, Music Venues Trust, Beverley Whitrick, said: “For Music Venue Trust, Amy’s appointment as Night Czar represented a real achievement in advancing the fight to protect London’s grassroots music venues. The fact that she has embraced the role with such zeal and commitment is fantastic, not only for venues in London but also for those in other cities which have been inspired by Amy’s example to consider their need for a similar champion of culture and night-time economy. Amy understands the issues and speaks with both passion and authority – we are very very happy to have her in our corner!”

Chief Executive, Association of Licensed Multiple Retailers (ALMR), Kate Nicholls, said: “The creation of the Night Czar role was a positive one for the eating and drinking out sector and Amy’s subsequent appointment was confirmation that the Mayor means business when it comes to the capital’s night-time economy.

“Amy is a great ambassador for London’s night-time scene, has a natural empathy with operators’ concerns and ambitions, and has an encyclopaedic knowledge of London’s venues, trading environment, challenges and potential.

“Amy’s enthusiasm, experience and drive will doubtless add yet further value asset as the Night-Time Commission works up its own strategy for night-time London.”

Chairman of Ministry of Sound, Lohan Presencer, said: “The Mayor’s appointment of a Night Czar for London was welcome move as for many years the capital’s night time economy was often an afterthought. Amy has been a fantastic choice, she comes from our world and understands the multiple challenges facing businesses like ours on a daily basis. She has engaged enthusiastically and extensively with the sector and has already given a long-needed voice and focal point to the huge variety of London businesses that operate after dark.”

Cameron Leslie, fabric‘s co-founder and director, said: “We greatly valued the vital support provided by the whole team at City Hall particularly during the difficult period when we were closed late in second half of 2016 but also the open line of communication we have with them now we’re open again. So much effort and energy goes in behind the scenes that the public aren’t aware of and without it we’d flying completely solo.” 

CEO and Founder of Marylebone Leisure Group (MLG), Lawrence Sandi, said: “Amy Lamé made me aware of the decline in LGBT community venues in London. I had no idea how serious the decline was. I was impressed by Amy’s passionate desire to sustain London’s remaining LGBT venues and impressed by her knowledge of the licensed industry. We worked together on a Soho project and I would say her input was invaluable.’

Landlord of The Gowlett Arms, Jonny Henfrey, said: “The strength I got just from knowing there was anybody in any kind of powerful position that might begin to mention and even back my case was immeasurable. I was and am very grateful for the help the Night Czar and her team gave me.”

Andy Bird, Pub & Bar Operator said: “It’s fantastic having the support of Amy and the GLA team, it finally feels the city is waking up to what the hospitality scene. For my work in particular in trying to save at risk pubs from being knocked down by flat developers, it’s been great to have a sounding board there and the re-assurance that at least some people who matter care about the heritage of the city”

Jeff Horton, Manager of 100 Club & Member of Mayor of London’s Music Venues Taskforce, said: “The appointment of a Night Czar has been a really important development in London’s arts and music heritage, and has given us a much-needed voice. London’s night time industry is very misunderstood and the role has helped bring clarity to what we do.

“The night-time industry is also crucial to London’s economy and employs thousands of people both directly and indirectly.  Amy has brought a charm to this new post and the ease with which she engages with people is crucial in getting problems unique to the industry solved. On a personal level, Amy and her team have been invaluable in helping me to guide my venue through particularly choppy waters at times.  I think it’s been a very shrewd and much needed appointment for us Londoners, and the rest of the world, who love the night time and the experiences it brings.”

London’s night-time culture – FACTS 

  • The night-time economy contributes £26.3bn to London’s annual GDP, equivalent to 40 per cent of the UK’s night time economy. This figure is expected to rise to £28.3bn by 2029*, demonstrating the potential for London.
  • 723,000 night-time workers are directly supported by the capital’s night-time economy. Including:
    • 97,125 people employed in the hotel and restaurants industry
    • 107,136 people employed in the transport and storage sector
    • 101,282 people employed in health and social work
  • 1.26m jobs overall exist because of the night-time economy
  • £77m a year will be added to London’s economy by 2029 due to the Night Tube
  • 100,000 people predicted to travel on the Night Tube on both Friday and Saturday nights
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