The Mayor of London announced yesterday that £50m is being made available to to regenerate town centres in outer London. This will be welcome news for the outer boroughs that Boris has been accused of neglecting in favour of high profile projects – the Olympics and Crossrail in particular. One of the main planks of Boris’s pledge was to support London’s ‘neglected’ suburbs, a promise Boris no doubt is keen to be seen to fulfil in advance of next year’s mayoral elections.
Outer boroughs will be able to bid for grant funding to help set up local business districts with the aim of improving retail, leisure, culture and arts provision to boost growth. Outer London is home to 60% of the capital’s population, and a third of its ecnomic output is generated from jobs in these areas. However, it needs to work hard to retain its skilled workforce by creating the right conditions for further economic development. On this subject, it’s perhaps worth looking again at a London Councils report published back in 2009 highlighting the importance of outer London in boosting the city’s competitivity and aid economic recovery and making the most of what’s already there rather than siphoning money from inner London.
We’ll be keeping an eye on London’s potential business improvement districts over the coming months so watch this space as the boroughs battle it out for a slice of the pie.