High Street Fund

In 2014-15 the Mayor's Regeneration team used £9 million to establish a new High Street Fund. We consulted London boroughs and many other organisations involved in the management and improvement of London's high streets, basing our conversations on the 2014 Mayor’s Action For High Streets document. (Please note, this document relates to the previous administration.)

Our consultation with key stakeholders helped to define the criteria for grant applications to the High Street Fund. We published a prospectus inviting bids for funding and defining eligible activities for investment and support. It invited project proposals under 4 key themes:

  • proactive stewardship – to establish local partnerships that encourage change, and to develop high street strategies
  • stimulating activity – to improve the look and feel of places, making them more welcoming
  • occupying empty space – to help bring back a high street bustle and ensure a diverse and desirable range of uses
  • accommodating growth – to boost the high street’s role in supporting and shaping development and manage town centre intensification

Since April 2015 the successful applicants have delivered projects with positive impacts, including new jobs, apprenticeships and high quality public and green space. All projects also use significant match funding from other sources. They strengthen the vibrancy and economic activity on London’s high streets and in nearby areas.

High Street Stories

Some of the High Street Fund projects feature in our 2016 High Street Stories publication, which gives a flavour of what’s happening on high streets thanks to local authorities, businesses, communities and individuals across London.

Crowdfunded High Street Fund projects

Some of the High Street Fund projects were crowdfunded. The first two pilot rounds of the Mayor's Civic Crowdfunding programme were part of the High Street Fund.

Information about the grants awarded

These projects have been successfully funded through the High Street Fund.

Improving Burnt Oak, Barnet

Burnt Oak in Barnet is helping to shape future local development by identifying investment priorities. For example: 

  • helping businesses adapt to change
  • reducing anti-social behaviour
  • creating better links with the surrounding area
  • revealing built heritage

Recipient: Barnet

Award: £269,048

Improving Wembley, Brent

Wembley wants to celebrate the local area and to attract new activities. For example, it's offering support to business and encouraging an innovative digital high street programme.

A focus of this work is the Making Wembley Wonderful project, turning disused, neglected, high-street spaces into attractive spaces for community, commercial and educational services to improve the local life and economy.

Recipient: Brent

Award: £655,000

Supporting businesses in Sudbury, Brent

Sudbury is trialling a business support programme to help local businesses define their plan for the future.

They key aims are:

  • to engage with the local community, to identify and promote a local identity for Sudbury
  • enhance visitor's experience when they come to the high street
  • improve the physical environment at the Southern gateway to the high street

Recipient: Sudbury Town Residents' Association

Award: £20,000

Creating a Neighbourhood Plan in Harlesden, Brent

A community hub in Harlesden is holding events and engaging with residents and businesses to create a Neighbourhood Plan. This plan aims to:

  • engage residents, businesses and faith groups in responding to local issues
  • combine aspirations around improving the town centre
  • offer food growing training, making use of the nearby food growing site

Recipient: Lift People

Award: £20,000

Improving Orpington's centre, Bromley

Mayoral funding is being used to expand planned public spaces around the Walnuts Shopping Area, as well as to reinvigorate the town square and other areas in the town centre, with activities including kiosks and market stalls.

The project will also support the business improvement district 'Oprington 1st' to help start-ups and existing businesses thrive.

Recipient: Bromley

Award: £125,000

Improving alleyways in Beckenham, Bromley

The 'Do Up Our Alley' project in Beckenham aims to celebrate the high street's unique character, being full of alleyways, by improving their safety and appearance. This involves:

  • install alleyway name signs, lighting and singage
  • cleaning and decorating the facades
  • promoting the businesses operating from the alleyways

Recipient: Copers Cope Residents Association

Award: £20,000

Enfield Thinks, Enfield

In collaboration with the borough and local colleges, Birkbeck University turned an empty shop unit into a pop-up university between April and June 2015. Their aims were to:

  • raise educational and professional aspirations in the area
  • engage residents who previously may not have seen further or higher education as being for them
  • provide somewhere to host workshops, lectures and debates
  • provide exam support for young people

Recipient: Enfield

Award: £20,000

Improving Abbey Wood high street, Royal Greenwich and Bexley

The boroughs of Royal Greenwich and Bexley want to revitalise Abbey Wood high street, in order to prepare it for the arrival of Crossrail and to support the housing growth planned for the area. This work includes:

  • physical improvements to public spaces and buildings along Wilton Road, adjacent to the station
  • supporting local businesses and traders
  • looking at improvements to the local street market and to shop and building frontages

Recipient: Royal Borough of Greenwich / Bexley

Award: £150,000

Improving New Eltham high street, Royal Greenwich

There is a new project to regenerate New Eltham high street. Funding is helping a partnership of community groups and businesses to deliver this project, for example: delivering wayfinding improvements, a programme of events, planters, seating and other physical improvements. 

Recipient: Community Association of New Eltham

Award: £15,500

Regenerating Station Road, Harrow

The borough of Harrow is looking to re-establish Station Road as a vibrant local shopping destination. This includes:

  • shop front and public space improvements
  • wayfinding improvements
  • a new traders association 

Recipient: Harrow

Award: £224,200

Improving Romford High Street, Havering

This project will encourage visitors to 'look again' at Romford. It offers a comprehensive package of investment, including:

  • an innovative stewardship model to tackle the issue of vacant units on South Street
  • more independent retail and cultural activity on the high street
  • creating a clearer, cleaner and creative route from the station along the high street to the market and new housing sites

In October and November 2015, the competition ‘Colour in Romford’ asked Londoners to submit their art work for the chance to have it painted on the side a building, lamppost, town clock, station wall and a number of other urban sites in need of a makeover.

Recipient: Havering

Award: £200,000

Ladywell enterprise hub, Lewisham

On the site of the old Ladywell Leisure Centre, on Lewisham High Street, a new enterprise hub has been set up. It is on the ground floor of an innovative new temporary housing development, and is helping to kickstart and grow businesses in the area, providing training and support. 

Recipient: Lewisham

Award: £430,373

Camden Collective, Camden

The Camden Collective project, led by Business Improvement District Camden Town Unlimited, aims to support the development of the local creative industries sector, whilst building on local character and providing new opportunities for young people in the area.

Mayoral funding will now provide even more space for new start-up businesses, as well as for critical skills training. This will stimulate new jobs and create a more mixed range of shops on the high street.

Recipient: Camden / Camden Town Unlimited

Award: £150,000

Collective @ Temperance Hospital, Camden

Temporary refurbishment of the Insull Wing at Temperance Hospital will provide 3,000 square metres of flexible workspace within a unique hub that fosters a collaborative community atmosphere. The hospital site is due to be demolished as part of the HS2 works around Euston Station. Until that time, Collective @ Temperance will provide:

  • Affordable co-working space to incubate up to 300 start-up businesses
  • Training and development opportunities, mentoring and business support to hub members
  • Affordable follow on space to allow hub businesses to grow in a sustainable way
  • Networking and hub events to foster collaboration and innovation
  • An apprenticeship programme offering opportunities to young people in the area
  • Local events for the wider community

Recipient: Camden Town Unlimited (Business Improvement District)

Award: £150,000

Finsbury Park, Islington

The borough wants to create a welcoming, distinctive feel to the Finsbury Park town centre area. Improving the look and feel of the area will promote a coherent and strong sense of ‘place’ for Finsbury Park. This improvement work includes:

  • an integrated public art scheme for the railway bridges on Stroud Green Road and Seven Sisters Road 
  • improving shop fronts
  • holding community events
  • engaging with and supporting local traders associations
  • building and gateway improvements to attract additional investment

Recipient: Islington

Award: £262,000

ARThouse on the high street, Richmond

In 2015 the ARThouse project achieved its funding target to develop a temporary pop-up art exhibition in an empty shop on Twickenham High Street. The project aimed to improve the high street by reducing the number of empty shops, and to build a stronger local arts community.

For 6 weeks in June and July Richmond hosts two local festivals: the annual ARThouse open studios festival and the Twickenham festival. The project transformed this empty shop into an exhibition and workshop space featuring local artists' work. They ran a programme of workshops and demonstrations, providing creative opportunities for the local community.

Centrepoint homeless café, Soho, Westminster

The project will create a social enterprise café on the ground floor of the Centrepoint Resource Centre in Soho, offering work experience to homeless young people aged 16-25, and providing them with the skills and experience to find employment as part of the local economy.

Find out more about our involvement with this project.

Award: £20,000

Ten Grand Arcade, Barnet

Ten Grand Arcade is a thriving art gallery, showcasing student and local artists since June 2014.

It's also a business start-up hub and a space for the community to use - it provides a meeting and thinking space, allowing more people to become involved activities in the town centre.

Award: £16,000

The Community Brain, Surbiton

The Community Brain are a unique and enthusiastic community group who are encouraging the people of Surbiton to collaborate and engage with their local area through the widest range of activities: art, education, local history and more. Their aim is for everyone to have fun and bond as a community, creating a natural networking environment.

They’ve helped communities create their own legends about goat boys, created food and fish festivals, invented Suburban skiing and created giant versions of children's board games.

No formal joining or membership is required and The Community Brain is open to all.

Recipient: The Community Brain

Award: £17,000

Portobello Green, Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea

The Westway Trust is working in partnership with the Royal Borough of Kensington on a development around Thorpe Close, Portobello Green and Acklam Village.

GLA funding will support the first phase, including the design and installation of a series of short, medium and longer term ‘pop-up’ interventions in and around Thorpe Close. This area is currently underused as a connection between Ladbroke Grove and Portobello Road.

In the long-term, Westway Trust's Portobello scheme will invigorate local retail, support existing markets, create new space for local arts, culture and community activities, bring new homes, introduce maker-spaces, and provide significant improvements to local parks and public areas.

Recipient: RB Kensington and Chelsea / Westway Trust

Award: £125,000

Improving Roehampton high street, Wandsworth

The Borough of Wandsworth is working on a project to improve Roehampton high street.

A series of outdoor events around the high street will help local businesses connect with the wider community. The creation of a more vibrant, unique space will attract more visitors and encourage them to stay longer. This proposal includes cultural events and five new creative commissions, by artists in collaboration with local businesses.

Three annual outdoor community events have started in Roehampton:

  • activities and performance as part of Wandsworth Arts Festival in May
  • a summer festival funday
  • a Christmas lantern parade with carols

This project aims to help local businesses to connect with the events as ‘ambassadors’.

Recipient: Wandsworth

Award: £20,000

Other high street projects

Barking, Barking and Dagenham

Recipient: Barking and Dagenham

Award: £291,250

This project includes plans to bolster connections between Barking's commercial, historic and creative hubs, consolidating the current retail and workspace offer. The project will includes improvements to the market, a new civic hub on the ground floor of the former Magistrate's Court building and weekend events to parade between the three sites showcasing the diverse culture of the area.

Harrow Road, Westminster

Recipient: Queens Park Community Council

Award: £20,000

The Queens Park Community Council will renovate and occupy a vacant shop on the high street as a focal hub to engage the local community in the process of producing a neighbourhood plan. A series of workshops will allow a diverse range of people to have their say on the future of the area.

Harrow Road, Westminster

Recipient: City of Westminster

Award: £585,000

The project will consolidate a sense of place around the Harrow Road by curating a hub of activation and diverse retail around Maida Hill Market, along with new canal-side workspace opportunities. The investment will include the addition of new spaces for trading, training and apprenticeship opportunities and improvements to existing buildings and public spaces.


Recipient: Turf Projects

Award: £15,950

A previously vacant shop unit is playing host to a year-long programme of art events and exhibitions. Run in collaboration with the Croydon School of Art, it is helping strengthen the local cultural offer and change perceptions of central Croydon.

Acton, Ealing

Recipient: Ealing

Award: £395,000

The proposal will seek to address Acton’s high vacancy rate and relatively high level of deprivation and self-employment, by supporting more businesses onto the high street through the creation of new workspaces in empty units. A strategy for Acton will identify short and long-term investment priorities including business support, the development of a business improvement district and building frontage improvements.

Mare Street, Hackney

Recipient: Space

Award: £20,000

Improvements to the access, visibility and visitor experience of the 'Triangle - Creative Hub' are helping to integrate a thriving artists' workspace into the wider community. In addition, new affordable workspace is bringing creative opportunities.

Wood Green, Haringey

Recipient: Haringey

Award: £300,000

This ‘Meanwhile Campus’ is transforming three under-used buildings into a street of workspaces and cultural enterprises, along with a range of business support measures and public space improvements. Events will engage local residents and businesses, a new food market will be tested and a hotel for artists will support local creative industries.

Chicken Town, Tottenham High Road, Haringey

Recipient: Create London

Award: £15,500

Serving healthy and affordable food, Chicken Town will connect with local young people from across the borough, teaching them about healthy yet tasty food options and explore fun ways of eating right.

Romford, Havering

Recipient: Romford Contemporary Arts Programme

Award: £14,352

Banter is a programme of monthly comedy events planned in changing vacant units on Romford’s high street over the course of a year. The project includes the design and build of a moveable set which will be rebuilt to reoccupy spaces on the high street.

Brixton, Lambeth

Recipient: Lambeth          

Award: £869,000

Wayfinding improvements, public wi-fi, the world’s first local currency cash machine, and a new workspace in the town centre will help support existing high street businesses, as well as creating new workspace for young entrepreneurs.

Waterloo, Lambeth and Southwark

Recipient: Waterloo Quarter BID

Award: £20,000

An innovative engagement process involving residents and schools is driving the production of an artist-led programme to support the businesses on Lower Marsh and The Cut. This activity is complemented by themed signage for construction hoardings, a temporary art work in Emma Cons Gardens and guides to local attractions, shops and hotels.

Forest Hill, Lewisham

Recipient: Lewisham / V22

Award: £113,000

Public space improvement on Dartmouth Road, along with the development of a long-term cultural strategy, is animating underused spaces outside several council-owned buildings in the heart of Forest Hill, to make them a key feature of the place.

Manor Park, Newham

Recipient: Newham / Create London

Award: £177,534

The vacant Grade II listed Carnegie library in Manor Park is being renovated to provide affordable studio workspace for the benefit of local artists, creative practitioners and makers.

Bankside, Southwark

Recipient: Southwark / Better Bankside BID

Award: £167,500

Public realm improvements are intensifying socio-economic and cultural life in Bankside by drawing in visitors from the riverside, as well as helping to better integrate existing public realm improvements in the area. The project includes new paving, greening and improvements to lighting and building frontages. Workshops with local business will strengthen joint working in the area.

Herne Hill, Southwark and Lambeth

Recipient: South London Makerspace

Award: £18,150

Mayoral funding is being used to help fit out a previously vacant railway arch as a "maker space", where members can have access to shared tools and manufacturing space.

East Street, Southwark

Recipient: Carnaval del Pueblo Association

Award: £20,000

The Carnival del Pueblo Association is bringing a vibrant Latin American cultural offer to East Street through a programme of events, specialist workshops, and an extension of the bustling East Street market.

Old Kent Road, Southwark

Recipient: Southwark

Award: £510,000

Proposals for the emerging Old Kent Road Opportunity Area Framework are being tested, including public space improvements, re-occupation of vacant units for flexible workspace, improvements to key buildings, meanwhile activity and a new layout for East Street Market. All are helping to knit together gaps between development sites.

Peckham, Southwark

Recipient: Southwark / Three Cs

Award: £50,000

This project is converting a former mental health day centre in Peckham into a public social enterprise café and a community resource with an aim to integrate a range of activities for mental health and non-mental health communities alike.

Whitechapel, Tower Hamlets

Recipient: Tower Hamlets

Award: £520,000

A package of improvements, designed to increase workspace provision in previously vacant buildings and provide business support to promote a lively economy, will build on the momentum of change in Whitechapel.

Chrisp Street, Tower Hamlets

Recipient: Tower Hamlets / Poplar Harca

Award: £283,000

Building on the success of previous Mayoral investment, a suite of interventions including a new co-working space, tailored business support and business loans are supporting new enterprise and existing trade in Chrisp Street.

Blackhorse Lane, Waltham Forest

Recipient: Waltham Forest

Award: £166,095

Building on a successful pilot project, Blackhorse Workshop is creating additional open access workshop space, desk space as well as reconfiguring the café and yard space to improve its public welcome.

Walthamstow, Waltham Forest

Recipient: Waltham Forest

Award: £670,000

Refurbishment of the Central Parade building in Walthamstow will improve the cultural offer and provide opportunities for emerging creative industries. Further interventions will also progress innovative housing solutions for high street locations, provide pilot homes and serve to help the night time economy of Walthamstow’s market.

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