Ladywell and Forest Hill set to benefit from High Street Fund

Ladywell Leisure Centre will close once Lewisham's new leisure Centre is complete. Pic: Wikimedia Commons

Ladywell Leisure Centre will be transformed by the Mayor’s high street fund. Pic: Wikimedia Commons

Ladywell and Forest Hill will receive more than £540,000 of funding from the Mayor of London.

Lewisham is set to receive a share of the £9m Mayor’s High Street Fund, which will be used to fund an enterprise hub at the site of the old Ladywell leisure centre, and to make improvements to parts of the Forest Hill area.

In Forest Hill, £113,000 of funding will be used for “public space improvement” on Dartmouth Road and to develop a cultural strategy that will transform several “under-used spaces” outside council-owned buildings into “key features” within the area.

Over £430,000 has been pledged to fund a new enterprise hub on the ground floor of a new housing development, which was once the site of the now-demolished Ladywell leisure centre on Lewisham high street.

Lewisham's allocation of the High Street Fund is the 7th highest in London. Pic: Grace Darlington

Lewisham’s allocation of the High Street Fund is the 7th highest in London. Pic: Grace Darlington

The hub will provide a co-working space to promote the growth of start-ups and existing businesses that are primarily working in the creative, digital media, business and social enterprise sectors.

Deputy Mayor and Cabinet Member for Growth and Regeneration, Cllr Alan Smith, said: “This is great news for Lewisham. We have one of the highest percentages of micro businesses in the country, and the direction we need to be in is to encourage these micro businesses to become larger businesses, and the enterprise hubs are part of this.”

“We have a very entrepreneurial population. There just seems to be a buzz in the area. People want to get on with it and with the addition of this funding we can help them.”​

The Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, has allocated a portion of the £9m fund through the crowdfunding website Spacehive, where community groups are able to post their ideas and ask for financial support.

It is the first time the Mayor of a major European city has used a civic crowdfunding website to directly pledge money for community projects.

Boris Johnson said: “The imagination, enterprise and creativity of Londoners has shone through in the array of ideas that were put forward to the High Street Fund.”

“London’s high streets are no longer about retail alone and I am thrilled to be supporting projects that seek to diversify and unlock opportunities in our most prized urban assets.”

The allocation of the fund, offered to local organisations wanting to “revitalize” their communities, will be invested in 42 high streets across London, including 25 larger borough-led projects and 17 community-led projects.

There is still over £285,000 available in the second round of the High Street Fund, which will begin on Monday 29 June.

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