The Mayor of London has granted almost £10m to 20 outer London boroughs from his Outer London Fund – with nearly £3m coming to West London – aimed at providing an injection of "buzz" prior to the Christmas season.
Set up in March, the Mayor’s Outer London Fund is a £50m three year initiative to grow economic activity and drive employment in parts of London benefitting less directly from large-scale infrastructure investment in the capital such as Crossrail and the 2012 Games and forms part of the Mayor’s vision for bringing the best elements of the village to the city.
Up to £10m was made available in this first round of funding with the aim of providing boroughs with immediate access to funds which they can use to increase the attractiveness and economic competitiveness of their town centres in the build up to the Christmas period and throughout the New Year. The second round, open until October 14th, will see the allocation of up to £40m of funding to develop longer-term projects to regenerate and rejuvenate areas ranging from a small parade of shops to town centres.
Thirty projects in 20 boroughs will benefit from the funding announced today. The largest single award, £715,000, went to Enfield Council to improve shop fronts, make use of vacant shops, create a new street market in Ponders End and refurbish street lighting and canopies.
Hounslow collected £226,500 for new temporary public art outside Waterman’s Arts Centre in Brentford High Street, and a further £499,000 for Hounslow Town Centre.
Also receiving grants are Brent Council, who get £500,000 for Willesden Green; Ealing, who get £128,000 for Greenford and £500,000 for Acton; Harrow, who will receive £496,000 for Harrow Metropolitan Centre, and £360,400 for North Harrow; and Hillingdon who get £240,000 for Hayes Town Centre.
Boris Johnson said: “Investing in our town centres and local areas is absolutely key to maintaining London’s position as the best big city in the world. This cash injection means councils can start work today to attract more people into their area, boost economic growth and bring the buzz back to their high streets.
“But this is just the beginning. With up to £40m left to spend immense changes are on the horizon for some of London’s town centres, changes that will not only enhance but intensify the character, colour and identity of those places we call home.”
Daniel Moylan, Deputy Chairman of Transport for London, who is working closely with the Mayor on the Outer London Fund said: “This money will provide a real boost for town centres which are suffering from the effects of a slower than expected economic recovery. Giving councils immediate access to the funds means that they can plough ahead with their successful bids and get their areas ready to take full advantage of the Christmas period. An investment in our town centres is an investment in economic growth and quality of life for all Londoners and I look forward to the proposals for the second round of the Fund which are set to bring about real long-term change for centres across the capital.”
Harrow Council will use their grants to pay for a mix of promotions, festivals, events and on-street improvements which aim to attract more visitors and shoppers to spend in the areas, and market research which should help traders respond to demand.
Cllr Keith Ferry, portfolio holder for planning and economic development on Harrow Council, said: "We can make a difference by working with businesses and the entire community to promote what's on offer, make these areas more attractive and make sure they meet local demand."