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Efforts underway to revitalise night-time economy and increase cultural and community spaces through improved planning system

Ministers Martin and Noonan host workshop with sectoral and industry representatives to identify opportunities to improve night-time economy for all   


Today, Catherine Martin T.D., Minister for Tourism, Culture, Arts, Gaeltacht, Sport and Media and Malcom Noonan T.D., Minister of State for Heritage and Electoral Reform, will co-host a workshop in The Chocolate Factory aimed at revitalising the night-time economy.   Representatives from organisations relating to the sector will participate in the event.   They will seek to identify how artistic, creative and community spaces can be supported by the planning and development system. 


The Workshop is taking place in direct response to Action 16 in the Report of the Night-Time Economy Taskforce.


Challenges around planning, regulation and access to space were raised consistently by those working in the industry throughout the consultation process for the development of the Night-Time Economy Taskforce Report.   Action 16 of the Night-Time Economy (NTE) Taskforce Report[1] committed to holding a dedicated workshop to understand and determine the range and practical scope of planning and development-related actions that can support the NTE.  The aim is to develop best practice guidance to assist Local Authorities and others to plan effectively for the NTE in a multi-use urban context.

Opportunities as well as challenges to creating new and diverse activity in our NTE will be identified and addressed collaboratively in the workshop and a number of key themes will be addressed including:


  1. Town centre revitalisation, including outdoor spaces
  2. Meanwhile use of vacant spaces
  3. Cultural Infrastructure provision
  4. Defining and identifying cultural spaces
  5. Noise management, including agent of change principle
  6. Planning and licensing

Invitees to the workshop  include those working in the Night-Time Economy Sector, Give Us The Night, An Garda Síochána, Local Authorities, members of the NTE Taskforce including Fáilte Ireland, the Arts Council, representatives from the retail sector, VFI, LVA, Government Departments and agencies and other representative groups.


The workshop will include presentations from Jo Cox Browne, founding Director of Night Time Economy Solutions Ltd, passionate about helping towns and cities become safer, vibrant and more attractive at night.  Jo has experience of working in partnership with police forces, police and crime commissioners, Business Improvement Districts (BIDs), local authorities, hospitals, universities, licensed premises and voluntary organisations to help them design innovative solutions that can reduce crime and vulnerability. 


Julie McLaughlin, co-founder of Jando Design, and artist based in The Chocolate Factory and also manager of the venue will speak at this event and will outline the story of how they overcame the various challenges to opening this innovative and creative venue.


Speaking today Minister Martin said:


We have heard loud and clear throughout the development of the Night-Time Economy Taskforce Report that we need more artistic, creative and community spaces which can operate and support the Night-Time Economy and we all want to see our planning and development system supporting this need.  Cultural spaces are really important for our communities and individuals and this importance shouldn’t be underestimated.  It can bring communities together, make people feel more engaged and part of something bigger than themselves.  We want to use the collective knowledge within this room today, to look at challenges and potential solutions.  Helping to develop a more vibrant Night-Time Economy is not the job of any one Department or Minister – it involves all of us working together and trying to make things happen”.


Minister of State Noonan said:


The Night-Time Economy is a key economic sector of our cities and towns and also one of the things that makes them great places to live in and visit. Supporting this through a Town Centre First approach that maximises the use of vacant buildings and encourages the development of quality public spaces is part of our agenda to invest in regeneration and amenities that benefit local communities in the widest sense. In doing this, its important too that a vibrant night time economy doesn’tt impact negatively on town centre living. Issues such as safety and noise can be addressed through collaborative actions led by local government. We need to ensure that the necessary procedures and systems that regulate the Night-Time Economy are fit for purpose and can respond to the needs of those working in the area. Through this workshop, we can learn from the many voices interested in seeing a lively and successful Night-Time Economy maintained hearing the different experiences and suggestions on how changes can be made. I look forward to these learnings being drawn together to develop improvements and best practice approaches that reflect the energy and commitment of those attending.








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Editor’s Notes

The Report of the Night-Time Economy Taskforce was published in September 2021  It was the result of nine months of consultation, discussion and collaboration between central Government, Local Government and the Night-Time Economy (NTE) sector itself and was a commitment in the Programme for Government.


The Report contains 36 practical recommendations in the area of regulation, licensing, planning, transport, safety and increasing the diversity of activities as part of the night-time offering.


An implementation structure is in place to ensure that the recommendations are implemented in full and also, importantly, that the document remains current and that new ideas and new developments are included as the work progresses. 


Action 16 of the Report is set out below:

1) Develop specific best practice guidance to assist local authorities in including appropriate, locally-tailored provisions to plan effectively for the Night-Time Economy in a multi-use urban context.  The guidance will:

  • Identify how local authorities can be innovative in their approach to supporting and encouraging the Night-Time Economy to be an active element in the revitalisation of urban centres, including the appropriate use of outdoor spaces.
  • Consider practical steps to encourage Night-Time Economy uses to be incorporated into the building structure of new offices, hotels, apartments or student accommodation developments. 
  • Develop practical definition/s of cultural spaces as part of this process


(2) Arising from learnings from the development of best practice guidance, include Night-Time Economy considerations as part of statutory Urban Development guidelines which will be reflected in the statutory planning process.

To inform this initiative a dedicated Night-Time Economy Activation Workshop will be held to understand and determine the range and practical scope of planning and development-related actions that can support the Night-Time Economy sector.