What level of evening and night time economy provision in Hoylake would meet the needs of residents and visitors?
CURRENT POLICY WORDING
HS4. EVENING ECONOMY
Within the town centre boundary shown on the Proposals Map all development proposals, including those for a change of use, that would promote and/or support early evening activity related to high quality food and drink, arts and cultural uses and later retail trading will be permitted, subject to the proposal being able to demonstrate that it would have no significantly adverse effect upon the amenities of the local area, particularly the amenties of local residents.
PROPOSED AMENDED POLICY WORDING
HS4. EVENING AND NIGHT TIME ECONOMY
Within the town centre boundary shown on the Proposals Map all development proposals, including those for a change of use, that would promote and/or support evening and night time economy activity related to food and drink, arts and cultural uses, including later trading, will be permitted.
Proposals should demonstrate no significantly adverse effect upon the amenities of the local area, including local residents.
On the basis of public feedback from the original 2011 “What’s Your Vision” survey we found no clear consensus on the proposal for:
Supporting later licenses for individual bars, pubs and restaurants provided that residents are not affected
Indeed there was a stark polarisation in the responses.
Anecdotally, it could be deduced that this polarisation of views has its roots in differing perspectives and experiences among local people of the impact and management of the NTE in Hoylake especially in the years preceding that survey.
However the next question solicited a clear consensus, with almost 70 per cent of respondents in support:
Improving communication between bar owners, residents and local authorities to shape the future of the night time economy together.
This implies that local residents are not ‘against’ an NTE in Hoylake, rather that most support a strategic approach to its future development.
Further, 84% of respondents identified attracting uses which do not rely on alcohol consumption, such as a cinema, arts venue and later shopping, as a high priority.
The Night Time Economy (NTE) is an integral part of town and city centre economies, providing jobs, wealth creation, and is valuable to everyone – visitors, residents and businesses. The ‘after dark’ economy is worth £66bn (Nightmix Index) annually to the UK, supporting thousands of businesses, employing 5-10% of the UK workforce, and seriously impacting local economies.
Unfortunately, under the cover of darkness some less positive activity can narrow the demographic attracted to going out after dark. The Home Office states that 64% of all violence takes place in the evening or at night, and one fifth of all violent incidents take place in a pub or club. The cost to the UK economy is estimated at £7.3 billion per annum in terms of policing, prevention, processing offenders through the criminal justice system and the human costs incurred by victims [Alcohol Concern]. Add the cost to the NHS and the figures get even scarier. Over the years government has responded to the issues of the NTE with a number of initiatives and legislation to help make the NTE a safer, more vibrant and economically sustainable part of the town centre dynamic. This has included; the Licensing Act, Smoking Ban, and the Police Reform and Social Responsibility Act 2011. Furthermore, the introduction of the Localism Act and National Planning Policy Framework provide options for places to make choices about the shape of their NTE and how it integrates with residential and daytime stakeholder activity.
Whilst recognising these national statistics, alongside the consensus for positive approaches to the development of any NTE in Hoylake, when creating any policy for local implementation we are bound to take into account past and present data on the local impact of the NTE.
In the current NDP, the focus is on the evening economy; a ‘bridge’ between the daytime and night time economies. This concept is supported by many professional advisers as a means of strengthening the economic benefit links between daytime and night-time economies, keeping footfall in town centres whilst maintaining family friendly activities (eg cinemas and restaurants) and, in smaller centres, a broader demographic appeal later into the night.
“The town centre would benefit from premises extending opening hours into the early evening and by increasing the offer of high quality food, drink and cultural uses alongside traditional retail. It is important that any such changes be balanced with the need to protect the amenity of people living nearby and the amenity of the local area from potential adverse impacts such as anti-social behaviour, litter, noise and light pollution.”
However it must be acknowledged that the NTE landscape has changed dramatically since the current NDP was drafted.
With the exception of four traditional pubs, all of Hoylake’s bars have now gone. This inevitably changes the very foundation of the conversation.
What do you think is an achievable, viable and acceptable balance for a vibrant NTE in Hoylake that supports a range of activities for all ages, including restaurants, bars, music venues and other NTE activity such as cinema or theatre, and that impacts positively on the daytime economy?
In order to amend Policy HS4 in the next iteration of the NDP in 2020 we will need to:
- Consult further with the wider public on views on the NTE.
- Gather evidence that supports or contradicts anecdotal evidence that a developing NTE does not inevitably lead to negative impact on residential amenity or a significant increase in ASB.
- Present options for the development of the NTE in Hoylake and assess potential public support.