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High Streets for All Challenge fund

Mar 26, 2021 | Uncategorized

New GLA funding opportunity aimed at bringing together community and business groups, local authorities, cultural and third sector organisations, anchor organisations such as colleges or health facilities and commercial interests to join forces and develop capacity to support high street and town centre renewal.

The purpose of the challenge is to seek and share new ideas to deliver enhanced public spaces and exciting new uses for underused high street buildings. Helping to breathe new life into our town centres and high streets, delivering a resilient and thriving mix of shops and services within easy reach of all Londoners and at-all-times of the day and night.

The full playbook and phase 1 application is here… – submission by 17th May.

Each proposal will address common and local challenges and support the reimagining of town centres. Strategies can support actions across an entire high street or focus on one project.  However there must be an asset at the heart of the proposal – this might be a building, a structure or public realm.

As part of a local partnership, your response could include an expanded role for cultural, civic and community uses; support for local and start-up businesses and cultural production, and new forms of community-owned enterprise; it could transform old buildings into new spaces or develop pioneering ownership models. It also could reconsider the nearby public realm and support walking and cycling to encourage healthier, more active lifestyles and to respond to the climate emergency.

Hounslow council cannot apply for the fund however we are here to help you with your applications if needed;

  • We have worked with local residents, groups, partnerships and businesses over the last six months on reimagining our town centres and bringing together new draft visions and initial proposals that could activate these visions.  We are happy to share any of the community engagement feedback with you and discuss the proposals that received strong community support to add evidence and weight to your proposals (see below)
  • Where possible we can make introductions to different groups / businesses and organisations
  • We can help with setting up meetings to discuss proposals
  • Talk to you about your ideas and how they fit with the challenges identified by the GLA (p12 playbook) and local issues

Once you have submitted a proposal we have a role at stage 1 in endorsing one project from the whole borough and exemplar high street location to the GLA, as well as actively supporting the partnership at stage 2.

Each borough will hopefully receive a funding allocation in June 2021 of c£20,000 for one town centre to help form/build a partnership, prepare strategies and propose projects. The funding will support local engagement and promote a culture of ideas, experimentation and invention and build a pipeline of schemes/projects for future investment opportunities.   Those town centre partnerships successful at Stage 1 will progress to a Stage 2 application where 10-12 projects across London will bid to receive £100-200k revenue funding to take their proposals forward.

Future Neighbourhoods 2030

London boroughs that wish to focus their plans largely on the environmental challenge and which have relevant projects requiring funding that can get underway in 2021–22 and deliver tangible outputs in the next 12 months, should also consider applying to the Mayor’s Future Neighbourhoods 2030 programme. This £7.5m programme will support the development of two to four exemplar Future Neighbourhoods in two phases over the next three years. £3m will be made available for strategies and projects in the first phase. Future Neighbourhoods will be located in areas most adversely impacted by the pandemic and high streets could form part of these neighbourhoods. future_neighbourhoods_2030_prospectus_application_funding_guidance_final.pdf

For the new draft town centre vision documents please look here.  The draft documents are at the bottom of the page – the link to the summary of the engagement is also there.  Within the documents are some really exciting proposals put forward by the community that could really benefit from further funding to scope, develop real plans and a partnership to take them forward. These include project proposals such as

  • Opening up the Longford River, creating a cultural hub and establishing new markets – Feltham
  • Urban greening, a healthy town centre – active routes and spaces, and new meanwhile uses in vacant shops to meet the needs of the community – Hounslow
  • Creating a new pocket park in the old railway line, and a creative industries hub – Brentford
  • Reimagining and adapting the role of Chiswick town hall and new market strategy – Chiswick

This is by no means an exhaustive list and at this point they are all proposals and no more – they need local partnerships to want to bring them to life.

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