Motivating visions of the night time
Greenwich Town Centre is a place full of history and heritage, and some of the UK’s best visitor attractions.
Local people felt that over the years, the place catered mostly for tourists – residents didn’t feel a sense of ‘ownership’ of the town centre.
The Royal Borough of Greenwich has taken steps to change this. I met Michelle Rankin (Assistant Director for Business, Employment & Skills) when Fourth Street was commissioned to write the successful High Streets For All funding application to the GLA.
Michelle and her team, guided by Cllr Miriam Lolavar, could see the building blocks to improve the town centre experience, but needed a strong vision to galvanise action. Over the next 4 months we engaged with external stakeholders, like Maritime Greenwich World Heritage Site, Visit Greenwich, and Greenwich Co-operative Development Agency, and ran in-depth surveys and workshops bringing together strategies and policies across the council. We identified a set of interventions and opportunities around a central goal: to rediscover a sense of local authenticity and revive the local economy. This included new programming in the Cutty Sark, support for new local food traders, and helping high street businesses to recover from the pandemic.
The outcome of this work was the Greenwich Town Centre Night Time Strategy – with a fully integrated action plan informed by all parts of the council. This work has influenced the implementation of the High Streets for All programme, and Fourth Street's collaboration with Greenwich on the successful bid for the Woolwich Night Time Enterprise Zone.
Night time strategies are still being developed in many parts of the UK. It can be a daunting challenge to re-invent local plans and policies to work more effectively at night. But a strong vision can encourage partners and stakeholders to develop plans in the short-term and to believe that changing their approach will have long-term rewards.
To talk to us about visions and strategies for night time use of places and spaces, please get in touch with Mary-Helen Young.