Engaging with businesses in London’s first Night Time Enterprise Zone

In September 2019, the Mayor of London announced that Walthamstow High Street  would become the capital’s first-ever Night Time Enterprise Zone.

Waltham Forest Council quickly assembled a team to engage with businesses, residents and community groups to understand the evening economy and create a pilot project with an event on Small Business Saturday. We led the high street and business engagement stream with town centre businesses to understand the challenges they faced to remain open later into the evenings and the support that might encourage it. The wider team included Matter Architecture, Artillery and a community engagement specialist.

Key learnings from the pilot will inform the evening and night time economy objectives in the council’s updated Economic Growth Strategy and the Business and Employment Strategy for the town centre.

Brief

  • Develop a detailed understanding of the barriers for businesses on Walthamstow High Street to stay open later in the evening
  • Understand the challenges for businesses that are currently part of the evening economy and what support could be made available to them
  • Gauge and gather support from local businesses for a community event on Saturday 7 December (High Street ADVENTURES)
  • Analyse the data collected and devise recommendations and an action plan for how to address the challenges with future programmes and activities

Results

  • Baseline data created to build an overview of the businesses in the study area and their opening hour and trading patterns
  • Surveys and in-depth interviews with 100+ businesses
  • Focus group held with residents and businesses to understand where evening economy issues overlap
  • Post-event research carried out with 25+ businesses
  • A report analysed the data on the area and engagement findings. It was accompanied by best practice examples from other places and activities happening already that could be retimed to the evening
  • The development of an action plan for change to support later opening in the medium to long term as the area changes