Group shot: Cllr Khaireh (third, from left), Cllr Cousins (fourth, from left), Cllr Smith (second, from right), Night Czar (fifth from left), Woolwich Lates Night Hosts and Tracey Sage from Emergency Exit Arts joined in the parade
Group shot: Cllr Khaireh (third, from left), Cllr Cousins (fourth, from left), Cllr Smith (second, from right), Night Czar (fifth from left), Woolwich Lates Night Hosts and Tracey Sage from Emergency Exit Arts joined in the parade

Published: Monday, 2nd October 2023

The Royal Borough of Greenwich welcomed London’s Night Czar Amy Lamé for a night surgery in Woolwich on Friday 22 September.

The visit took place almost a year after the town was chosen as one of three new Night Time Enterprise Zones by the Mayor of London.

The Council has been working in partnership with local organisations to deliver ‘Woolwich Lates’, a varied programme of arts, fitness, retail and family events, that go on into the evening. From fitness classes, a Wimbledon screening and street food markets open later, to tight-rope walking, poetry performances and an art trail across the high street, the programme of events has been drawing both residents and visitors from further afield to Woolwich. Data captured from Woolwich Lates events has shown, on average, a 23% increase in people flocking to the town centre in the evening.  

The evening walkabout presented an opportunity for the Night Czar to find out more about the impact the programme has had. Amy talked to project partners and representatives from a range of local businesses, cultural organisations, a crime-reduction partnership, venue owners, volunteers and residents about the opportunities and challenges of the night-time economy in Woolwich.  

London's Night Czar, Amy Lamé said: “It was wonderful to visit the Royal Borough of Greenwich and meet local residents, night workers and business owners to discuss life at night in Woolwich and join the fantastic celebrations. As one of our Night Time Enterprise Zones, the inspiring programme of Woolwich Lates events has helped make the high street more accessible and welcoming to residents and visitors to the area after 6pm. Our local high streets play a vital role in powering the economy and bringing together friends and communities. The Mayor and I will continue to work closely with our partners to help bring high streets to life as we build a better London for everyone.”  

Councillor Mariam Lolavar, Cabinet Member for Inclusive Economy, Business and Skills, said: “I’m delighted that London’s Night Czar Amy Lamé was able to come and experience first-hand everything Woolwich town centre has to offer after dark, nearly a year after it officially gained the Night Time Enterprise Zone status. The numbers speak for themselves, with a quarter increase in people out enjoying Woolwich Lates events.” 

“One of our missions is supporting a thriving night-time economy to ensure our high streets are prosperous, safe and vibrant for local people and to support businesses. Cultural events like the ones we’ve hosted with our partners as part of Woolwich Lates are a proven way to attract people into town centres and experience the wider offer while they're there. For Woolwich, this includes restaurants serving cuisines from all over the world, world-class venues showcasing comedy, live music and theatre and even a virtual reality games arcade!” 

The tour stopped by cultural district Woolwich Works and arts centre Tramshed, two leading evening destinations for the area, followed by a visit to the Woolwich Front Room, where people were getting stuck into crafts for the parade. They met with business owners who have been key players in Woolwich Lates, including virtual reality gamers’ paradise AT VR, café Coffee Lounge, bubble tea emporium Square Bubbles, sushi bar Hitachi Sushi and Hong Kong-style joint Duck Duck Pork in Woolwich Indoor Market on Powis Street. 

The night surgery coincided with the most recent event in the Council’s Woolwich Lates and High Street Action Zone calendar, the Hi! Street Fest Finale, a joyful parade of giant mechanical puppets, music, dance and costume brought to the high streets by Historic England and Emergency Exit Arts. Over 1,000 people of all ages soaked up the carnival atmosphere which led them from Artillery Square to General Gordon Square, where the show culminated with colourful confetti, sparklers and performance. 

Farrah the Fox scooting down Powis Street

Farrah the Fox scooting down Powis Street

The group also heard about the Council’s wider regeneration plans for Woolwich town centre, with a range of projects underway to support economic, social and cultural growth. Supporting a thriving night time economy is central to this.  

Councillor Aidan Smith, Cabinet Member for Regeneration, said: “We’re so pleased that Amy could join us for a celebration of Woolwich’s high street and to hear about its rich culture and heritage. We’re investing in major improvements across the town centre, as part of the Council’s Heritage Action Zone, to encourage shoppers to Woolwich and businesses to increase their income streams. The initiative will support the growth of the night time economy, unlocking the potential of the high street, making it more accessible and welcoming for residents, businesses, tourists and investors”. 

About the Mayor of London’s Night Time Enterprise Zones 

Bromley town centre, Vauxhall and Woolwich were named as the Mayor’s Night Time Enterprise Zones in November 2022. 

The Mayor of London’s £500,000 programme is designed to boost high streets after 6pm with innovative events and business support to drive the economic recovery. 

In partnership with the London Economic Action Partnership (LEAP), the funding helps boroughs work with businesses and local communities to develop ideas to make their high streets more accessible, inclusive and welcoming at night. 

Night Time Enterprise Zone – Woolwich Partnership

The Council is working with local partners to deliver the Night Time Enterprise Zone (NTEZ) including: Berkeley Homes, British Land, GCDA, GLL-Better, Emergency Exit Arts, FESTIVAL.ORG, Greenwich Enterprise Board, Uber Boats by Thames Clippers, Visit Greenwich, Volunteer Centre Greenwich, Tramshed, Woolwich Works and many more.   

Heritage Action Zone

Woolwich is one of 68 High Streets Heritage Action Zones across England, and one of only five in London, that will be given a new lease of life thanks to a £95 million government-funded programme. The fund is being delivered by Historic England and will unlock the potential of high streets across England, fuelling economic, social and cultural recovery and breathe new life into town centres for future generations.