Mayor’s Outer London Fund goes live
Mayor of London opens bidding process for £50 million high street regeneration fund.
The Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, has opened the bidding process for his Outer London Fund, designed to strengthen the vibrancy and growth of London’s high streets and local areas.
Addressing, amongst others, London’s borough leaders at City Hall this morning, the Mayor explained how eligible boroughs and projects can go about bidding for a share in the first round in his £50 million three year fund to grow economic activity and drive employment in London’s outer regions.
The Mayor presented his vision for improving local life through a range of measures designed to make a visible contribution to the self-confidence and economic viability of the high street and immediate areas from a small parade of shops to a town centre hub.
The fund will be allocated in two rounds, rolled out over three years. The first round, announced today, will provide immediate access to funds and advice that have the potential to make a real difference to our town centres before Christmas this year, particularly to local retailers.
Announcing that up to £10 million will be allocated during this first round, the Mayor of London, Boris Johnson said: “These are the very areas in London where everyday life takes place. We are talking about a vital shot in the arm for areas where people live; places people call home, communities they care about, where they go shopping, where their kids play and where they spend time with friends and families. Hubs brimming with local character, identity and full of aspiration, this is London’s collective beating heart.
“With this fund we are able to address the historic neglect of the outer boroughs that preceded this mayoralty by kick starting stimulus for high street activity and growth. This is a significant pot of money to help projects really motor and I am delighted that we now have the means to nurture developments, increase work and leisure opportunities and make futures bright locally. This is a huge lift for the Cinderellas of the High Street and I am confident that we will see a real buzz and vibrancy before Christmas this year.”
The Mayor was joined by Daniel Moylan, Deputy Chairman of Transport for London, who is working closely with the Mayor on the Outer London Fund. Taking questions from the borough leaders on how the fund will work, Councillor Moylan said: “The objective of this vital fund is to strengthen the personality of high street places and reanimate areas that have been neglected in the past. We have a real chance to make sure that all parts of our city benefit from London’s economic power and dynamism. There are many parts of London that, with a bit of support, could become vibrant centres, full of economic and cultural activity and therefore capable of contributing much more to our city’s overall character and economy.
“We believe that action and expenditure should start as swiftly as possible, in order that people begin to feel the benefits of the fund now, when they are suffering most from a slow recovery from a nationwide recession. With the support of a free specialist team to help bidders, we are confident that a real difference on our streets will be visible before the end of the year. I am very much looking forward to seeing the proposals that come in.”
Councillor Teresa O’Neill, Leader of Bexley Council, who is the Mayor's Outer London ambassador, a member of the Outer London Commission, and who attended today’s event said: “Outer London offers not only a tremendous quality of life, but has major interests and businesses of its own. Its success is vital to the economy of London and to the nation as a whole. This money and support will make a significant difference in making sure that outer London plays a full part in the capital’s continued success.”
London has benefited over the last few years from many strategic investment decisions to improve the quality of life and economy of London. These have included over 50 projects being delivered as part of the London’s Great Outdoors programme, from improvements to neighbourhood parks, to reclaiming London’s waterways; plus major transport investments including the extension of the Docklands Light Railway, the expansion of the East London Overground Line, and of course all the benefits that will come from Crossrail and the 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games.
To ensure that all of London benefits from the current uplift in confidence and services, this fund will favour those projects or boroughs that are benefiting less directly from infrastructure investments such as Crossrail and the Games.
What’s more, to make the most of what we have to offer, a specialist assistance team is being assembled to nurture collaboration and assist local businesses, organise events, and design celebrations or decorations for lighter touch improvements. This assistance team will also be able to help in relation to the more substantial physical projects in round two.
The initiative is being coordinated on behalf of the Mayor by the Greater London Authority working closely with others in the London Development Agency, including Design for London, and with Transport for London. A panel including the members of the GLA, the Outer London Commission and TfL will make recommendations to the Mayor who will make the final decision over which bids go forward.
The deadline for round one applications is 18th July 2011. Round two applications will be submitted in August 2011.
What counts as outer London? The Outer London Commission have defined Barking and Dagenham, Barnet, Bexley, Brent, Bromley, Croydon, Ealing, Enfield, Haringey, Harrow, Havering, Hillingdon, Hounslow, Kingston, Merton, Newham, Redbridge, Richmond, Sutton and Waltham Forest as outer London Boroughs.
What is the imperative for this fund? While outer London provides two fifths of the capital’s jobs, growth is at little more than half the rate of inner London.
What is the Outer London Commission? The Outer London Commission is an independent body that was set up by the Mayor as one of the first things he did after being elected into his post in 2008. It includes representatives from public voluntary and private sectors and is advised by experts in architecture, economics, business, local communities and development.
The Outer London Commission is chaired by William McKee CBE, who has a long career in the public and private sectors. For more information visit www.london.gov.uk
Councillor Teresa O’Neill is the Mayor's Outer London Borough Relations Advisor. The post is an informal, unpaid role and does not carry any executive power, decision making or budgetary responsibility with respect to the Greater London Authority or any of its functional bodies.
What has happened since the Mayor announced this pot of money in March? Following that announcement, the Mayor wrote to all borough leaders to seek their ideas and consulted the Outer London Commission as to the objectives of the Fund. The Mayor is now announcing the details of the fund’s objectives and the bidding process.
How much money will be allocated during the first round of funding? We expect to allocate up to £10m in total in this first round, with a likely maximum of £500,000 per place.
What more can you say about the fund’s objectives? The Outer London Fund is a three year initiative focused on the regeneration of town centres and their high streets, backed by £50 million and the offer of specialist support.
The Fund will nurture activities that range from modest awareness and enthusiasm-raising efforts, to more substantial built works and development-enabling projects.
The objective of the Outer London Fund is to strengthen the vibrancy and growth of London’s town centres and their environs. We focus on town centres and their high streets because these are the parts of London where the public life and the everyday economy is focused; they are at the core of our designated town centres, with good public transport, and the high street activity that we all want to see flourish. These places can range from local parades of shops to the largest town centres.
The Mayor’s replacement London Plan will see town centres as the main focus for commercial development beyond central London. They are the best places to deliver and improve competition and choice in goods and services. They are conveniently accessible, particularly by public transport, walking and cycling. Some have great potential to help meet housing needs though carefully designed, higher density development. They are also the places which most Londoners identify with, offering a distinct sense of space and neighbourhood.
Who can apply? In round one, only boroughs will be eligible. We hope to extend this to work directly with other organisations in round two. All boroughs can apply as it is a criterion based fund, but it will favour the outer London boroughs, given they will benefit less directly from the Games legacy, Crossrail and tube upgrades.
Are there limits on how much funding can be applied for? We expect to allocate up to £500,000 to each place in round one, but exceptions may be made. The details of round two will be announced in July.
How many projects or places can each borough apply for? Each borough may propose as many high street places with as many projects in each as they see fit.
What kind of specialist assistance will be offered? This assistance will include a pre-procured team that specialises in economic development, place shaping and public realm projects, special event planning, community engagement and marketing to assist boroughs in developing their ideas.
Who will determine the winning bids? A panel with members from the GLA, Outer London Commission and TfL will make recommendations to the Mayor who will make the final decision.
Who is administering the Fund? The Outer London Fund is a GLA project, supported by the LDA team, including Design for London.