Lambeth Council supports community groups in high streets challenge

2 August 2021

Written by: Lambeth Council

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Two Lambeth high street recovery projects have secured £20,000 initial funding from the Mayor of London to help them bounce back from the economic impacts of the Covid-19 pandemic.

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Lambeth Council supports community groups in high streets challenge

City Hall has pledged a total of £700,000 to 35 community organisations across the capital to breathe new life into town centres under its High Streets for All Challenge.

The challenge invites a re-imagination of high streets that responds to the London recovery mission, delivering enhanced public spaces and exciting new uses for underused high street buildings and spaces through diverse community partnerships.

Station to Station Business Improvement District in Tulse Hill & West Norwood, was selected as Lambeth’s exemplar project for its proposals to convert vacant or underused buildings to provide flexible and shared workspaces and ‘meanwhile’ space for start-up businesses and temporary ‘pop-ups’.

Alongside Croydon and Bromley councils, Lambeth Council is also supporting a cross-borough partnership proposal for Crystal Palace led by the Upper Norwood Library Trust.

This will focus on the idea of transforming an underused car park to provide valuable flexible affordable working space.

Cllr Matthew Bennett, Deputy Leader of the council, said: “Lambeth has worked really closely with local communities and businesses to support our town centres throughout the pandemic.

“I’m delighted that with support from the Mayor of London we’re able to see more support going to local projects in Tulse Hill, West Norwood and Crystal Palace”

City Hall launched its High Streets for All Challenge to combat the effects of the pandemic on London’s high streets and build back London’s economy.

Research by the British Retail Consortium suggests one-in-seven high street shops has had to permanently shut their doors since March 2020.


City Hall chose the Station to Station proposal for its community ambition to strengthen this “15 minute neighbourhood” where residents can find easier access to employment, amenities and community opportunities in their local area, while attracting new customers to existing local businesses.

The BID will work with Lambeth Council teams, and the wider community partnership, to progress opportunities for delivering new flexible and affordable employment space in identified vacant units, engaging with landlords and landowners to make this a reality.

This will provide much needed affordable space for creative industries in particular, who already have a strong presence in West Norwood and Tulse Hill, and who are at risk of being priced out of London entirely.

Charlotte Ashworth, BID Manager, said: “We are extremely pleased that the High Streets for All team have seen the potential that exists in West Norwood & Tulse Hill.

“It has long been our aspiration for Tulse Hill & West Norwood to be THE destination for affordable workspace in the borough, and this funding – and the potential to be awarded even more – will certainly help us get there faster.”


The project being led by the Upper Norwood Library Trust aims to create an incubator for creativity, collaboration and innovation to extend the offer of the Upper Norwood Library Hub. The trust hope to reclaim under-used car parking space next the library to provide affordable and flexible workspace.

This will enable people to meet and share ideas, with a particular focus on arts, culture and education

Prior to the Covid-19 pandemic, the library recorded almost 15,000 visitors a month over the last four years.

It is hoped by using new spaces more creative talents can add to the diverse range of businesses in Westow Hill.

Emily Jewell, director of the Upper Norwood Library Trust, said: “We are delighted to have been selected as an exemplar project by the Mayor of London and are thrilled to be able to explore in more detail how we can transform a dilapidated space and bring this fantastic opportunity to our community.

“We look forward to working with our Local Authority colleagues and full project partnership, including award winning architect Jan Kattein to ensure our project is taken forward to the next stage.”

Later this Autumn, City Hall will invite all 35 chosen projects to submit another funding bid for a share of between £100,000-£200,000 to develop the proposals further.

For more information read the Mayor of London’s announcement.