Report of the Corporate Director, Place Shaping.
The Leader of the Council considered a report which set out the rationale for entering into an agreement with the Mayor of London to secure money from round one of the Outer London Fund to support Harrow Town Centre and the District Centres.
An officer explained that at the time of the preparation of the report, the outcome of the bid from the Outer London Fund to the Mayor of London was unknown. The Council had subsequently received an ‘in principle’ approval for the grant applications for the Harrow Metropolitan Town Centre £496,000 and North Harrow for £360,000. Furthermore the funding would assist the Council in delivering one of its Corporate Priority in ‘Supporting our Town Centre, our local shopping centres and businesses.
The officer reported that the relevant outputs would include:
· festivals taking place, including a dance showcase and a food festival;
· promoting Harrow as a shopping destination;
· performing public realm improvement including implementing parking bays and feeder pillars;
· improving the Town Centre and Programme Management Capacity;
· improving Business and Enterprise Development with a focus on training, delivery of apprenticeships and pre-apprenticeships in retail;
· pump priming District Centre Partnerships with money for events and promotions;
· providing more emphasis on marketing and promotion including on events, websites, directories and community notice boards;
· providing business support in terms of visual merchandising (in store and window dressing) to maximise purchasing;
· utilising pop-up shops test trading.
The officer reported that the measurable outcomes would be a halt in the increase of vacant properties in the Harrow Metropolitan Town Centre and North Harrow and bringing empty shops back to use by April 2012.
The Leader of the Council expressed that the proposed funding was positive news for the Council particularly for investment in the Harrow Metropolitan Town Centre and North Harrow. The Leader added that the Council would continue to pursue further funding in phase 2 in bidding for the Outer London Fund.
RESOLVED: That the Council enters into a funding agreement with the Mayor of London in respect of round one of the Outer London Fund, subject to a successful bid.
Reason:The Outer London Fund was announced on the 13th June. It provided a means for Harrow Council to secure funds to meet its corporate priority of “Supporting our Town Centre, our local shopping centres and businesses”.
An application for funds was endorsed by the Portfolio Holder for Planning, Development and Enterprise. The application for Round One of the Outer London Fund closed on the 19th July. The announcement of the results of the bidding process would be made in August.
Successful applicants would be expected to commence delivery of Round One projects immediately and end delivery in 2011/12. Given the short turnaround, the opportunity to take this decision to Cabinet had passed. The application process for Round Two bids would be announced on the 19th July, the closing date was early September, and the results of applications would be announced in November. This would provide sufficient time to take a recommendation to Cabinet to enter into an Agreement with the Mayor for Round Two funding (subject to a successful application).