West London continues to work towards submitting a proposal for a Local Enterprise Partnership.
West London Business is still working on a LEP proposal to be submitted in time for the bonfire night deadline. All six West London Boroughs (and the West London Alliance) are said to be collaborating with WLB on submitting a bid by the revised London CLG deadline of November 5. Participants would appear not to have been put off by the GLA’s recent remarks about wanting to produce a London Wide LEP proposal and being unwilling to support sub-regional arrangements. As Frank Wingate, CEO of West London Business says: “we’re going for it!”
It’s far from certain that the London wide LEP will happen though – “with the massive funding cuts to the LDA, it’s not certain that the GLA could mount a convincing London-wide LEP”, said one source, “and in any case, East London appears to be pressing on with their LEP plans, why not West London?”
A session at the recent Place West London conference confirmed the general on-the-ground desire for a West London LEP, with delegates massively in support of the idea as a driver of regeneration across the sub-region.
Despite the Mayor and the GLA’s opinions, many feel that London is too large for a coherent approach within the LEP framework. London Councils suggested that London could accommodate up to three LEPs using the CLG definition of a functional economic area. Commentators point out the obvious differences in regeneration need in, say, Brent and Bexley, and use this as justification of the sub-regional structures persevering as LEPs. Also, some single Boroughs – including Barnet and Wandsworth – have declared an interest in proposing single Borough LEPs (although Wandsworth are now reported to be joining with Westminster, Kensington & Chelsea and Hammersmith & Fulham).
Despite LB Hammersmith & Fulham’s reported involvement with these central and southern Boroughs, they were at the last meeting to discuss a West London LEP and are reported to be participating fully.