New Portman Group report: Encouraging a thriving and diverse night-time economy

11/10/2017

There are four key stages to creating ‘buzz’ in a town or city centre, according to a new Portman Group report exploring what makes a thriving and diverse night-time economy (NTE).

Produced by Britain Thinks, the report analyses public and stakeholder perceptions of the NTE including the advantages and potential downsides of a successful NTE. Drawing on these findings the report defines a successful NTE as one with atmosphere and ‘buzz’.

It includes a unique blueprint for how to create ‘buzz’ in the NTE, via four key steps:

  1. Create a safe, clean environment for people to visit. Increased CCTV, Purple Flag schemes and visible police patrols/taxi marshals were identified as key.
  2. Create an attractive environment, via imaginative lighting and use of open spaces/local architecture, giving a town centre a powerful draw.
  3. Attract a diverse crowd, through a varied offer of late-night coffee shops and activities for under 18’s which create inter-generational mixing, a factor identified as key to creating a lively, relaxed atmosphere.
  4. Make it a unique and exciting offer, through late night shopping, street entertainers and pop-up food stalls, building on the proceeding factors to draw a diverse crowd.

Individual responsibility, local authority leadership and partnership working between all stakeholders in the NTE were identified as crucial to creating ‘buzz’ in town centres.

Commenting on the research, Britain Thinks Research Director, Anastasia Knox said:

“The public are enthusiastic about the value of a thriving night-time economy, but there are a number of steps that have to be in place.  Firstly, the environment must be safe and clean.  Secondly, the place must be visually appealing. Thirdly, it must have the ability to attract a diverse crowd, including people of different ages.  Finally, the offer must be exciting and reflect the character of the place.”

Commenting on the launch of the report, Portman Group Chief Executive, John Timothy said:

“A vibrant and dynamic night time economy brings real benefits to local communities and to local economies. This report provides a practical and achievable set of steps to deliver the town centres we all want to see.

“Critically, to achieve this, it stresses the need for partnership working by all stakeholders, including local authorities and businesses. Portman Group members and partners are already supporting a range of initiatives to improve town and city centres across the UK and are committed to do more to create safer, more sustainable and more successful night time destinations. This report has the potential to make a really positive contribution as we seek to deliver on this commitment.”