LEAP funded High Streets for All Challenge Launched

16 March 2021

The Mayor of London has today launched the High Streets for All Challenge, an invitation to local partnerships to bring forward and co-design innovative high street recovery strategies and proposals. Each strategy can address common and local challenges and underpin the public re-imagining of high streets and town centres across London. Strategies can support actions across an entire high street or focus on an innovative exemplar high street recovery project. 

The Challenge forms a key part of LEAP’s £5.5m Economic Recovery package of support, agreed by the Board in December 2020. The Challenge will kickstart enhanced public spaces and exciting new uses for underused high street buildings in every London Borough, bringing together local authorities, community and business groups, cultural and third sector organisations, anchor institutions such as universities, colleges or hospitals, and commercial interests to join forces and develop much needed capacity to support high street and town centre renewal.  

The Challenge will provide targeted advice and up to £4 million of strategic enabling funding from June 2021 to inspire and help form these partnerships, prepare strategies, propose projects and test their effectiveness. It will support local engagement and promote a culture of ideas, experimentation and invention and build a pipeline of schemes for future investment opportunities.  

The Challenge is open to a broad range of high street partnerships to be composed of public, private and third-sector participants and to be representative of local communities and businesses.  

Partnerships could include London boroughs (including multiple boroughs), town teams and business improvement districts, land interests and developers, workspace providers, community groups, social enterprises, small and medium sized enterprises, cultural organisations, community businesses and charities within London that wish to drive and lead regeneration in their local area.  

We will be funding activities that support high street partnerships in addressing local and specific challenges in line with those that have been identified for London as a whole: 

Creating a public welcome - How can we create streets and public spaces that encourage walking, cycling, cultural activity and boost visitor confidence, generating a thriving mix of high street activity within easy ​reach of all Londoners and at all times of day and night? 

Innovative places of exchange - How can we support both existing and new types of business and nurture innovation within local economies, through place-based policy development, targeted business support, planning, licensing and cultural and economic development incentives?  

Generating social value - How can we ensure that high street economies generate public value, shared prosperity and benefit from the socially productive use of land and property for the communities they serve?  

Connected communities - How can we promote social integration and active citizenship by strengthening local collaboration and securing vital social, civic and cultural infrastructure? 

Responding to the climate emergency - How can high streets help tackle the climate and ecological emergencies and poor air quality, whilst creating green jobs, developing skills and supporting a just transition to a low carbon circular economy? 

There is flexibility about which activities the High Streets for All Challenge can support, as long as they are part of a coherent package focused on partnership formation and development of a locally rooted adaptive strategy; and as long as they aim to deliver the stated mission of delivering enhanced public spaces and exciting new uses for underused high street buildings and spaces - working with London’s diverse communities. 

Download the full playbook and application form now.