Encouraging a thriving and diverse night-time economy

Author Portman Group

This report, produced by the Portman Group (responsibility body for drinks producers), is based on research conducted by consultancy BritainThinks into how to create a safe, well-managed, and inclusive night-time economy. Based on case study research in Nottingham and Exeter in 2015, including focus groups, observations, and stakeholder workshops, it finds a successful night-time economy is one that is safe, clean, attractive, inclusive, and vibrant.

Date added 17 August 2021
Last updated 17 August 2021

This report, produced by the Portman Group, is based on research conducted by consultancy BritainThinks into how to create a safe, well-managed, and inclusive night-time economy (NTE). As the authors observe, a successful NTE can boost the local economy, make towns and cities more exciting, and strengthen communities. However, there are potential downsides to a poorly managed NTE, including a lack of safe options to get home, violence and disorder, and unclean and unwelcoming streets and public realm. As the authors argue, “a vibrant and attractive night-time economy is important for many towns and cities across the UK. But it must be safe, well managed and welcoming for all members of the community”. This research, therefore, is based on in-depth case study work in Exeter and Nottingham - two places identified as having effective partnerships to create thriving and welcoming centres -  to find out what a successful NTE looks like, barriers to achieving this vision, and who is responsible for delivering this vision. Based on focus groups, first-hand observations, and stakeholder workshops, it was found that:

  • Perceptions of crime and safety issues are a barrier to participating in the night-time economy.
  • A trend away from clubbing culture in towns and cities, to moving around multiple pubs and drinking in public spaces.
  • The night-time economy provision seen to revolve largely around drinking alcohol, which can lead to exclusions and a lack of diversity.

Overall, research participants considered a ‘good’ night-time economy to be:

  1. Safe and clean- to change perceptions of safety, more visible schemes to address such issues are required, such as taxi marshals and police patrols.
  2. An attractive environment- small-scale improvements to the appearance of a place can be more inviting and attractive, such as additions of greenery or lighting to highlight local architectural features.
  3. Attract a diverse crowd- the night-time economy offer should be inclusive and move beyond a sole focus on alcohol consumption, to encourage diversity and a more welcoming environment.
  4. Create a ‘buzzing’ atmosphere- innovation and diversity in offer are needed to create a sense of ‘buzz’ and vibrancy, such as the use of pop-up activity. The three prior points are required in order to meet this one.

It was considered that dialogue and effective partnership working is vital to achieving the above.