London Mayor pledges funds for high street renewal

The Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, has pledged to allocate £9m of further funding for town centre improvements across the capital.

This is on the back of £221m of funding already committed during his Mayoralty to boost high streets facing the challenge of competition with e-commerce and out of town retail.

The funds will be available in the Autumn and the Mayor’s office said it wants small businesses to begin to take “more of a leading role” in bidding for grants to boost local town centres.

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Grants can be used to smarten up shop fronts, improve public spaces or to hold mini festivals but the aim will be for small businesses and community groups to be at the heart of that funding.

Johnson said: “Our high streets have been under great pressure from the rapid growth of retail parks and internet shopping. But their great strength is that they offer so much more than simply shopping. They are where Londoners come together to work, relax, meet and play and they buzz with activity from morning to late at night.

“However they are also key to the London economy and that is why we must make the most of their huge potential. We are delivering a comprehensive plan that will do everything possible to protect and support their incredible vibrancy.”

The high street renewal programme, overseen by funding from the Mayor, has so far created and safeguarded over 780 jobs; provided training for 400 young Londoners; formed eight new trade associations; supported 11 existing associations and revived five more; and brought more than 50 empty shops back to life, the Mayor’s office said.

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