Sadiq Khan to create 'night czar' role to protect London clubs

Sadiq Khan Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Mr Khan also vowed to make cultural life a "top four" priority, alongside housing, security and clean air

Sadiq Khan has vowed to make cultural life a "top four" priority and appoint a "night czar" to protect London's under-threat pub and club scene.

Addressing creative industry members at City Hall, he said he recognised the importance of the sector to "London's well-being."

He said the new role would involve ensuring "grassroots" and independent venues were not forced to close.

Noise complaints and licensing rules have hit nightlife in certain boroughs.

"We can't rest on our laurels. We are facing stiff global competition," Mr Khan said.

Alan Miller, the chairman of the Night Time Industries Association, welcomed plans to adopt the "Agent of Change" principle - that a new nightclub is responsible for soundproofing its premises, but builders who locate housing near an existing venue should pay for their own.

"People who move to places like Peckham and Hackney should recognise that [the nightlife]'s there and not be surprised when they move in," he said.

"In the boroughs there are still some problematic views about nightlife. Licensing authorities can view venues as a nuisance rather than cultural assets."

Image copyright Stefan Rousseau/PA
Image caption Sadiq Khan joined Londoners warming up outside City Hall for the International Big Dance Pledge

He added that the Night Tube would help to reduce noise by dispersing people from venues over a longer period.

Ben Rogers, the director of the Centre for London, said he would like to see less "over-zealous policing" of venues.

"The police don't have much sense of the value of a night-time economy so a couple of small infringements - like someone caught with drugs, or under age - and the venue is in real trouble."

The mayor also announced he would launch "a number of Creative Enterprise Zones" where arts and culture would get "extra support to flourish".

Each year a different London borough will be the focus of an arts celebration.

Mr Rogers said taking the arts beyond traditional institutions was increasingly popular with the public, and a focus on places outside the West End would encourage culture to go "out on the streets".

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