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Case study: Lewisham Town Centre Levelling Up strategy

Updated: Jan 19, 2023

Client: Lewisham Council, working with partners

Date: April 2022 - July 2022

Challenges faced by the client:

The London Borough of Lewisham (the Council) is committed to creating the physical, economic, social, and environmental conditions required to address economic decline and the deprivation experienced across the borough.

Like other London boroughs, Lewisham Town Centre is in need of new investment and the Council sees the Levelling Up Fund as an opportunity to develop the local area and invest in infrastructure projects to stimulate regeneration, provide greater access to services, and address inequalities. Central to this is the Council’s ambitious plans for Lewisham Market, including a redesign of the market and clocktower, as well as improving the design of the public realm and linkages around the area with the Levelling Up Fund an important source of funding to enable the delivery of these plans.

Support offered:

The Council appointed Mutual Ventures and our partners Project Centre to lead the development of a strategy to ‘level up’ Lewisham Town Centre. The Council required support to develop a high-quality bid to central government for funding. Our work focuses on a strategy to unlock the economic and civic potential of the town centre through investment in town centre anchors, including:

  1. Revitalisation of Lewisham Market – transformation of the historic marketplace to encourage visitors, help local businesses flourish and create an inclusive space for the whole community to enjoy.

  2. A new Culture and Business Hub – renovation of the existing library building to create a flexible and welcoming space for the whole community.

  3. A Re-imagined and connected High Street – improving connectivity across the town centre through pedestrian and cycling infrastructure.

These components aligned to produce an overall strategy of improvement, tied together with a clear strategic case and theory of change, economic analysis and positive cost-benefit ratio (BCR), and robust plan to manage the projects to completion by 2025. The strategy demonstrated how and why investment would act as catalyst for economic growth, attracting private investment, create jobs and produce more opportunities for residents.

Outcome achieved:

Lewisham Council was successful in its bid and received £19.1m to revitalise the town centre. Mutual Ventures produced a strong strategic argument and business for investment in Lewisham town centre, working closely with council officers. As part of the process, this won the support of more than 20 local stakeholders, including political leaders, business and statutory partners, and local civil society groups. The anticipated economic outcomes for Lewisham will include:

  • Increase in consumer spending, attracting new and higher-spending shoppers (whilst continuing to offer essential retailing for our lower income residents).

  • Increase in employment, stimulating the local economy by creating new jobs in the day and night-time economy.

  • Improved business sentiment, attracting new small businesses and start-ups.

  • Boost local pride and sense of place, enhancing the link with the culture and heritage of Lewisham.

  • Increase in pedestrian and cycle flow, increasing number and quality of journeys, reducing carbon emissions and improving air quality.

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.'


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