The idea of a West London Local Economic Partnership, debated at Place West London on October 14, got enthusiastic support from the audeince.
The panel discussing the idea included Russell Harris of West London Business, Giles Ellerton of BT, and Jackie Sadek, Head of Regeneration at CBRE and chair of UK Regeneration. They discussed what a LEP could do for West London, and indeed which bit of West London should be included in the geography of the LEP.
While London Councils feels there should be 1 – 3 LEPs in London, some Boroughs feel they can be a LEP on their own. But as Sadek pointed out – a one-Borough LEP could be reclassifed as a Borough. What speakers agreed was that West London was sufficently distinct to North, South, East and Central to merit an independent approach, and that a London-wide LEP was “too big”.
A West London LEP would be an opportunity to identify what needs to change, and to get on with changing it. Indeed, as one delegate pointed out in discussion, if a LEP is a good idea, West London should just get on with doing it, and forget about applying to Government to be allowed to. They are intended to be led by business, so anyone who felt there should be one should step up to the plate and kick off.
The case for a West London LEP was made powerfully. Two votes were taken during the debate, with about 10% in favour at the start and about 90% in favour by the end. But Sadek cautioned there were two things to be careful of – complacency that West London is a great place and will always be so, and “a lack of civic leadership”. West London, to continue to thrive as the UKs third largest economy needs to deal with both.