Bars And Restaurants Can Save The High Street, Say Councillors

DrinkingThe vast majority of local authorities believe the night-time economy will play an important role in preventing the decline of high street, according to a new study.

The study by the Local Government Information Unit (LGiU) and Portman Group reveals 92% of councils say bars and restaurants has an important role to play in preventing further decline. It also found three quarters (74%) of councils said they saw developing their night time economy as a key priority or important, yet only one in five (22%) have a dedicated night-time economy strategy. More than three quarters (77%) said investing in the night-time economy will become more important as councils become more reliant on income from business rates. And three quarters of councils said they would welcome a system to help them share best practice across the country.

While antisocial behaviour and crime is a major issue in the night-time economy, 88% of councils treat the night-time economy as a way of supporting businesses and job creation.

Local government formation unit executive Jonathan Carr West said “with customer spending more and more time and money online, and varied night-time economy could be a lifebelt to the beleaguered High Street. Encouraging activities and venues that appeal to a wider range of people is, rightly, important to local councillors. A national strategy would help councils get the best out of their night-time economy to the benefit of everyone in the community”.

Portman group chief executive John Timothy said “partnership working between the police, businesses, local authorities and other stakeholders is already happening in communities up and down the country to make the night-time economy safer and more inclusive. This is crucial at a time when we know a high streets are changing with online retailers challenging traditional operators and more and more shops standing empty. We need to further develop these models of partnership working to deliver vibrant night-time environments that can help revive and retain our much loved high streets and town centres as well as boosting the local economy”