– We, at London In Stereo, have been so concerned about the spate of recent venue closures, and attitude towards London’s nightlife, that we felt we had to do something to raise more awareness of the issues. Therefore we’ve invited Alan Miller of the The Night Time Industries Association (NTIA) to contribute a monthly column, celebrating London’s nightlife and highlighting the struggles it faces –
INTO THE NIGHT In the past two years ten major clubs in London have closed down alone – that is around 2.5 million visitors a year with fewer places to go! That, among a number of other reasons, is why we launched NTIA. The NTIA lobbies nationally and locally for all the bars, night clubs, pop-up festivals and live music events as well as restaurants and the entire ecosystem that is part of the enormously important Night Time Economy. London is such a vibrant city – however the enormous impositions that are taking their toll on operators and owners are having a terrible impact on our cultural landscape. The Night Time Economy accounts for 66 Billion UKP per annum in revenue and 8% of UK employment. It attracts visitors from across the globe as well as entertaining Brits with increasing creativity, experimentation and innovation. Too often authorities and police seem to want to fall back on an old script in new clothes, quoting "antisocial behaviour" and "crime stats" to challenge our highly professional and world famous night clubs, bars and restaurants. As our recent Report by Professor Furedi illustrated, crime has decreased in the past decade alongside widening licensing, as well as A & E levels stabilising and young people enjoying going out often with many of them not even drinking*. The great news, then, is that things are better than ever before! We aim to ensure that message is continuously heard at the most senior levels of decision makers in the UK and at the GLA. We are working with the Mayor's Office and a number of other organisations to ensure we continue to change the narrative. For those readers that love London, you will be especially surprised by what Hackney Council is trying to do. Astonishingly, after more than a decade of incredibly buoyant and creative transformation – from a run-down borough facing so many social problems to one that the world has
recognised as a phenomenally culturally rich and economically dynamic sector – Hackney Council, who once proudly declared "Destination Dalston" have now declared that any new clubs are "Not Considered Appropriate". When challenged by some residents and businesses on this language, Hackney Council changed the tag line, but their underlying assumptions remain. Declaring the desire for a borough-wide curfew, of 11pm Sun-Thurs and midnight on Fridays and Saturdays and preventing new businesses from starting would suck the life out of the borough. Claiming "saturation" yet with no evidence whatsoever of what that means, Hackney Council seems to assume it can simply declare these things as part of a "consultation". Hackney Council has an enormous opportunity to seize the moment and work with the innovators and trend setters that bring so much employment, creativity and revenue to the borough and to accompany TFL and London's broader initiative of being a 24-hour international city. After all, if bookshops can open at midnight to sell Harper Lee's book and museums can do all-nighters, why should London and the UK not be able to do what Parisians and those in Barcelona and elsewhere can? Why does Hackney want to take us all back to the 1980s or 1950s? We at the NTIA are supporting the We Love Hackney campaign which you can find out more about at welovehackney.org and @welovehackney. Please do tweet, share on Facebook and other social media and tell all your friends about it. After all, what happens in Hackney will affect all of London and the entire UK. See you next month! Happy clubbing and living! Alan D Miller To join the NTIA, visit ntia.co.uk @wearethentia // facebook.com/wearethentia *See Report: ntia.co.uk/forward-into-the-night 67 LiS 19
Published on Jul 28, 2015
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