Sir Peter Rogers, the Mayor's Advisor on Regeneration, Growth and Enterprise reflects on the recent public order disturbances.
The recent violence across our city was both shocking and saddening. I found it heartbreaking to see how much damage was done to the capital’s high streets, with shops and businesses being destroyed in just a few hours of madness.
In the days following the disturbances, we saw the true spirit of London shine through. The clean-up was swiftly started and the outpouring of offers of help for those affected is something we should all be proud of. At City Hall, we're now focusing not just on how we can rebuild and repair those damaged areas, but how we can take this opportunity to make them better places for generations to come.
We now have £70 million to do just that, with £50 million from the Mayor’s regeneration fund and £20 million from the Government’s new ‘London Enterprise Fund’, specifically for Tottenham and Croydon. While these were two of the areas hardest hit by the riots, they had already been identified by City Hall as regeneration priorities before these disturbances. Now we will be able to help them more quickly. Working closely with the boroughs, businesses and local people we will decide how best to deliver the maximum impact with that money and ensure that these areas see real, lasting improvements. This could include restoring and enhancing damaged shop parades, buying up and rebuilding affected properties or providing additional business rate relief on top of that already offered by the Government.
The Mayor’s £50m regeneration fund will focus on all other areas damaged in the disturbances and likewise invest in large scale projects to build on the momentum created as repair and rebuilding work begins across the capital. We will ensure that all affected areas are not only restored, but return as places that are even better than before to live, work and invest in.
This investment will make a huge difference but improving our high streets and town centres is not a new idea here at City Hall. Last month 20 boroughs shared £10m from the Mayor's £50m Outer London fund to make town centre improvements ahead of the Christmas period. The fund, which will see the additional £40m being allocated later this year, has been set up specifically to encourage economic activity and drive employment in parts of London that are benefitting less directly from major infrastructure projects such as Crossrail and the 2012 Games.
London will recover from the recent violence and destruction to become even stronger than before. The upside from these depressing events will see long neglected areas of our city revitalised more quickly than we had hoped and benefiting generations of Londoners to come.