Give us the night

A long-time ago, we interviewed Liam Hickey from Greater London Enterprise about the best ways to create a thriving high street economy in Brockley.  

GLE was appointed by Lewisham and Southwark to provide advice to businesses in the boroughs, to help encourage more local employment. He talked about a range of issues, from loyalty schemes to winning procurement contracts, which we plan to cover in more detail one of these days, but he also made an interesting point about the importance of late night business to successful high streets.

He compared Peckham with Brixton and argued that the real difference between them was that Brixton had been very successful in developing a thriving night time economy of bars, clubs and restaurants, whereas Peckham hadn’t (obviously tube links make a big difference). He suggested that Brixton’s night time economy had a major trickle-down benefit for the rest of the businesses operating locally – from pubs and cafes that cater for early arrivals to shops and suppliers that cater for those businesses. Late nights extend the money-making window for local high streets and bring in new customers to the area.

Without a late night offer, he suggested, areas like Peckham, Lewisham or even Brockley are fighting with one hand tied behind their backs as the UK's night economy has grown at 30% over the last decade.

Brockley only has a few night-time venues: a handful of restaurants, a theatre, a ballroom and a scattering of pubs and bars. Crofton Park has about the right balance, but as we’ve mentioned before, when The Orchard’s full and you’ve had your fill of the Barge, it’s a long walk from Brockley Station to find somewhere to hang out, unless you fancy a quiet night in the Essence of India. 

With the arrival of a new restaurant next month and the potential to create space for a bar at 180 Brockley Road, we could be on the verge of building a decent little night time economy in Brockley for the first time, with businesses like Gulen getting in on the action too.

Late night Brockley won't just make the area more fun, but also more successful.