Could Tunbridge Wells have its own night time mayor?
Tunbridge Wells needs a ‘czar figure’ to champion its night time economy.
That is the view of Mark Davyd, Co-Founder and Co-Owner of the music venue The Forum, who hopes the town will follow the lead of London in establishing the role.
Night czars, or night-time mayors as they are sometimes known, typically bring issues that venues are facing to the attention of local authorities.
They can also seek to implement safety measures, speak on behalf of venues and campaign for improvements to taxi or rail services to help customers get home safely.
Mr Davyd is campaigning for Forum Co-Founder Jason Dormon to take on the role and the pair are looking to approach Tunbridge Wells Borough Council to discuss the idea.
More than 200 people have joined a group on Facebook in support of the initiative.
He said: “In Tunbridge Wells we can see the town has not been planned to develop the night time economy.
“If it had been they would never have let a cinema close and move onto an industrial estate.
“We need a night czar who recognises how important the night time economy is.
“They will consult on transport and policing issues, informing the conversation and ask questions about taxis and buses. At the very least they will be a spokesman to represent the night time economy.”
Night czars are more commonplace in Belgium and The Netherlands, where simple steps have been implemented in some towns, such as directing nightclub customers one way out to minimise noise.
Manchester and Hastings could also be set to have a night czar.
Amy Lame has been the London Night Czar for 18 months and has campaigned with the Mayor of London Sadiq Khan for safety measures to protect the public out at night.
Mr Davyd said the next stage was to gauge an interest in having a Tunbridge Wells equivalent through consultations, such as the Facebook page.
From there The Forum could look to either approach the council, or establish the Mayor independently.
Jason Dormon has 25 years’ experience of working in the night time economy and would be ‘perfect’ for the role according to his colleague.