Mayor of London Supports London’s High Streets
The Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, is backing the major refurbishment of city centers to help to the high streets flourish again, bringing shopping back to retail shops rather than online and out-of-town retail shopping.
The grants for the £9million pounds will be available from autumn; Johnson has began pushing for smaller businesses to apply for the grants to increase commercial revenue. The Mayor revealed in a statement, ’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 (high streets) offer so much more than simply shopping.’ London high-streets offer such a unique shopping experience and atmosphere, home to some of the best one-off boutiques and talent, spreading the word and bringing customers back to British high-streets is just what the Mayor is trying to promote.
The initiative of funding and renovation was announced while the Mayor was on a visit to Bromley town center. Bromley, a major retail center is the home to over 700 businesses and 20,000 jobs. Bromley has already been funded for a large reconstruction of public space around the market square and town center, funding has been used to make the town center more visually appealing and modern, installing new paving, shared surfaces, bus stops, planting new trees and outside seating. It’s hoped that the current work and improvements in Bromley will be used as an example to other town centers into how and where funding can be spent.
There has been a total of £230million pounds being placed into the ‘Mayor’s Action for High Streets’ plan, £221million comes from previous times throughout his Mayoralty. The people of London are the key to London’s economy, which is why it is important to have a strong customer base to keep up the strong economic stance that London is sitting on. Mayor of London states, ‘‘Londoners come together to work, relax, meet and play and they buzz with activity from morning to late at night. However they are key to the London economy and that is why we must make the most of their huge potential.’’ This potential will be reached by the revamping of town centers drawing people back into the city centers again. The Mayor is allowing the grants to be used for almost anything as long as it helps to improve the popularity of the area, the grants can be used for improving public spaces, renovating shops or holding festivals.
There are already 175,000 businesses in London’s high streets and they employ almost 1.5 million people. The funding is designed to bring in hundreds of thousands of new jobs in and around the capital’s town centers. The high streets can provide much needed jobs; this is proving the importance of rejuvenating the high streets. The Mayor is highlighting the potential retail opportunities and new homes in the open spaces in the high streets, above already standing shops such as supermarkets or health centers. It is estimated that the new funding will supply 155,000 new homes in to city centers. Jonhson stated,’We are delivering a comprehensive plan that will do everything possible to protect and support their incredible vibrancy.’’
Words by Dana Rutner