Amy Lamé, London’s night czar, has been on the job for a year now. In that time, the stunning erosion of London’s nightlife has continued apace as she’s gotten to know the nightlife situation in the city. It’s a daunting task to stem the tide; London has lost almost half of its nightclubs, a third of its grassroots music venues since 2007, a quarter of its pubs since 2001, and 58% of its LGBTQ venues since 2006.
Ahead of the annual London Plan, Lamé has finally put forth her first planning guidance for the city. It sets up guidelines for new housing developments to follow, including working with boroughs to organize town halls, licenses, and address potential noise issues.
She pointed to the deal she helped broker where new residents’ complaints were putting Ministry of Sound’s liquor license in jeopardy. The developer eventually acquiesced and agreed to take responsibility for sound-proofing the units.
She also spoke out against borough councils sharply increasing rates on venues in London, despite the skyrocketing property values. She pointed out that the venues bring a cultural capital that helps make the neighborhoods desirable to the young, upwardly-mobile professionals, who they want to attract to their respective parts of London.
She also addressed the Uber controversy, where the ride-sharing company had their license to operate in the city revoked. “If we don’t have safe nights out, then it’s not worth having nights out,” she said. She also alluded to the other reason why the operating license was revoked, mentioning the city’s iconic black cabs were worth the slightly higher price.
Lamé also indicated that the next big project she is working on with city officials is a women’s safety charter to combat sexual harassment in London’s venues.
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