News / 4Corners
Back to 4Corners
Tuesday 17 May 2016

An Opportunity – London’s Nightlife

Have you noticed London is changing yet again? I believe it really could be a 24/7, connected, capital city this time.

The imminent opening of TfL’s Night Tube will add to the existing night buses, late trains, taxis and Uber drivers will be key in unlocking London’s night-time economy and –in my view– could be a major opportunity for developers in London.

In the UK the number of nightclubs across the country has dropped from 3,144 in 2005 down to 1,733 last year; combined with the rate of 7 pub closures a week, brought on in part by increased residential values and increased international investment promoting development in London and changing social attitudes to drinking.

Over the last 10 years London has lost a third of its small music venues, including iconic clubs like Plastic People, Cable and the Astoria venue.

A recent study reports that the percentage of under 25’s who either don’t drink, or restrict their drinking due to health concerns has increased to 40%; this reflects the changing attitudes to health & fitness, with social media, ‘clean eating’ and 24hr gyms, mandatory for Generation Y.

The percentage of disposal income spent within the ‘experience economy’ has grown year-on-year with the UK eating out more than ever. This is great news for the British economy however the high street needs to adapt to these changes to meet the needs of the new generation.

The success of roof top cinemas, businesses adopting flexi-hours to employees, 24hr gyms, convenience stores and art event’s such as London’s Lumiere Festival prove the increasing trend towards Londoners maximising their day.

London’s new mayor, Sadiq Khan has come up with very sensible ideas on how to stop the decline of London’s nightlife during discussions with Dazed Magazine. He plans to appoint a Night Mayor, as pioneered in Amsterdam, to represent night-time culture and business at London Council meetings.

He also plans to enforce soundproofing to residential developers to keep small independent bars and clubs from going under when new apartments are built nearby.

“I don’t want young and creative Londoners abandoning our city to head to Amsterdam, to Berlin, to Prague, where clubs are supported and allowed to flourish”, Khan told Dazed. “I want them to be able to celebrate what they love in the city that they love, rather than punish them or force their actives underground or abroad”.

Is it time we consider 24hr occupation of buildings during the feasibility/design stage, to see if flexible spaces can offer increased rental levels by incorporating open roof terraces for pop-up cinema events and theatre, or unused office car parks into a music venues on weekends?

The opportunities of the night-time economy are significant to the built environment and the changing ‘wants and needs’ of Londoners must be incorporated into future development.

Martin Smith
Senior Project Manager, Buro Four

Posted by: Martin Smith
Date: Tuesday 17 May 2016