Giving early evening activities a boost

Winchester City Council is developing a framework to boost the evening economy of the city centre.

There is a recognised lull in activity between 6pm and 9pm, after workers leave for home and before others arrive to enjoy an evening out. Filling that gap will not only boost the economy of the city centre, but will give it a new lease of life.

A draft framework for making these changes has been developed, and it is now time to find out what local businesses, residents and visitors think of the ideas proposed.  Are they the right ideas? Will they make you – or others – spend time in the city centre in the evening? Can we make them work?

The consultation is taking place through meetings with businesses, students, older people and other interested groups. Ideas include later opening for daytime activities, regular themed evenings and encouraging workers to stay in Winchester for an extra couple of hours.

Cllr George Beckett, Leader of the Council and Portfolio Holder for Economy and Tourism, is keen to hear the public view on the project. He said: “Winchester city centre already offers a lot in the early evening, from coffee bars and pavement cafes to evensong and art exhibitions.

“We want to make sure those activities are promoted alongside new opportunities. We really need assistance from local people to find out what they would like to see happening, and what would encourage them to spend longer in the city.”

This project fits in well with the Business Improvement District (BID) which has recently been approved for the city centre. Many of the additional services that businesses will pay for through the BID will make the evening offer in the city centre more attractive.

Everyone can have a say by going to and filling in the short online questionnaire, or by contacting economic development officer Kate Crawford on 01962 848 563 or

For further information on the Winchester BID, contact Graham Love, city centre manager on 01962 850 390 or email