WIT Press

Transformations In The Night-time Economy In English Town Centres: Challenges To Management


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WIT Press


M. Roberts


The state of many British town centres in the evening and at night is a cause for concern. In the early 1990’s a vision was introduced for Jane Jacobs’ inspired mixed-use centres with a strong residential component and a variety of small and large businesses whose operating hours extended into the evening. Coupled with this went a relaxation of the licensing laws, an encouragement of a café culture and the provision of new cultural attractions. The central quarters of many towns and cities enjoyed a brief period of ‘renaissance’, only to find that this was being rapidly undermined by a proliferation of bars, pubs and nightclubs fuelled by the British culture of youthful binge drinking. This paper reports the findings of a postal survey and other secondary evidence that reveals the conflicts and tensions that lie at the heart of problems associated with British town centres during the hours of darkness. On the one hand there is agreement that town centres need to be safe and attractive places to visit and to live in. On the other there are economic gains for major entertainment operators in selling alcohol through youth orientated venues. Some of the impact of these establishments can be managed through extra public services such as transport, cleansing and policing. The responsibility for payment for extra services is denied by the operators who argue that they already pay excessive taxes that are levied on the sale of alcohol. The conflicts between ‘private affluence’ and ‘public squalor’ continue despite the best efforts of authorities to regenerate and revitalise their town centres. Keywords: town centres, night-time economy, management, sustainability, transformation, alcohol.


town centres, night-time economy, management, sustainability, transformation, alcohol.