Case study: An economic strategy for Lewisham Town Centre
Client: Lewisham Council, working with town centre partners
Date: September – December 2022
Challenges faced by the client: Lewisham is a borough on the outskirts of inner London. At its heart is Lewisham Town Centre, a retail and community space that is in poor condition and ‘punching below its weight’ in economic terms. At present, it has a limited range of economic activity, no significant night-time or evening economy, and overall footfall is declining.
Despite this, Lewisham town centre has significant scope for improvement. Its position as a transport hub, a proliferation of modern development around the town centre, and a proud, loyal local population mean that it has the potential to be a thriving town centre.
Support provided: Lewisham Council appointed Mutual Ventures to support the regeneration team to develop a strategy for the town centre. Key questions included: What is the vision for Lewisham town centre? How do we increase economic activity in Lewisham Town Centre? What do we want it to be ‘famous’ for? How do we attract more visitors and more spending? How can we link economic and civic activity?
Our role involved gathering evidence on the performance and potential of Lewisham town centre, engaging with town centre stakeholders through interviews and workshops, and creating a summary document with a vision and goals.
Once goals were set, we worked with the council and partners to agree a series of short and long-term commitments to support the strategy and measures of success.
Outcome achieved: Our work helped the council to set a clear direction for the future of the town centre. The strategy is now subject to further internal consultation and approval by Mayor and Cabinet, prior to publication.
In the longer term the anticipated outcomes an increase in overall economic output in the town centre, improvement in the perception by residents and their pride in place, and a change to the category of Lewisham as a ‘metropolitan town centre’.
John Bennett, Head of Economy, Jobs and Partnerships at Lewisham Council said: ‘Mutual Ventures provided excellent support in delivering the work for Lewisham town centre. They brought drive, focus and rigour to the work, and were able to build the trust of key local partners. The work was delivered on time despite tight deadlines.’