Westminster City Council has launched a consultation on its proposal to create an inclusive evening and night-time plan and is seeking the views of residents.
The council says it wants “our community to be safe, sustainable, inclusive, and accessible” and is inviting residents to join its Evening and Night-time Stakeholder Assembly.
A map has also been created where residents can express their view on particular locations in the city where they would like to see improvements, and there is a survey to complete.
Westminster has the largest evening and night time economy in the UK.
“The City of Westminster has more licensed premises than any other local authority in Britain; over 3,700,” states the council’s statement of licensing policy.
“These include nearly 500 pubs, bars and wine bars, over 1,000 restaurants licensed to serve alcohol, 56 theatres and 136-night clubs and dance venues, and 21 Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer (or Questioning), and Intersex (LGBTQI+) venues.”
And the number of licensed premises continues to increase. This can have impact on the people living in Westminster, particularly in the West End and Fitzrovia West.
“The West End Cumulative Impact Zone has been identified because the cumulative effect of the concentration of late night and drink led premises and/or night cafés has led to serious problems of disorder and/or public nuisance affecting residents, visitors and other businesses,” states the licensing policy.
“The extent of crime and disorder and public nuisance in the West End Cumulative Impact Zone arises from the number of people there late at night; a considerable number of them being intoxicated.
“Public services, including police, health and emergency, transport, environmental services (cleansing and refuse services) are placed under chronic strain by existing levels of activity, as are civic amenities and the quality of residential life.”
The policy also warns of the effect of increased licensed premises.
“The urban infrastructure cannot sustain any further growth in licensed premises that provide a significant risk of a variety of harmful outcomes. Over a period of three years (2017–2019) 45 percent of violent crimes, as well as over half of all robberies, thefts and drug offences in the city were recorded within the West End Cumulative Impact Zone. Additionally, 43 percent of ambulance call outs between that same period to the locations of licensed premises [fell] within this zone.
While most of Fitzrovia West is outside of the West End Cumulative Impact Zone, the area south of Mortimer Street and Goodge Street is within the West End Buffer Special Consideration Zone — an area designated due to crime, disorder and public nuisance incident rates that are above the borough average.
From now until the end of the year, the council wants to hear the views of its residents on its plan for the evening and night-time economy. Then it will develop and finalise its plan, before publishing the finished document sometime in the middle of 2024.