Liberal Democrat-led Sutton Council has become one of the first local authorities in the country to put together an innovative toolkit aimed at promoting community-led town regeneration.
The Local Centres Regeneration Toolkit provides residents with practical advice on how to set up a group, properly plan, manage, publicise and gain funds for projects, contact the right team in the council and get appropriate licensing in place.
From festivals and events to pop-up stores and creative ways of revamping shop fronts, the interactive online resource encourages activity that will help revitalise the borough’s high streets.
It is also a source of inspiration, citing case studies from across the country. In Willesden Green, for instance, shop owners put together quirky, temporary shopfronts which popped up to the advent calendar over the festive season. Meanwhile, in Whitaker, a group of local volunteers gained access to a disused animal enclosure and raised funds to create a wonderful family area for picnics and growing fruit and vegetables, managed by the residents and registered helpers.
Such examples, it is hoped, will encourage Sutton residents, and indeed anyone anywhere in the country, to become creative with their borough.
In addition, the kit doubles as a social networking tool where users can share their ideas and experiences with others, giving it an innovative edge to other similar materials.
The toolkit has been put together by the council’s economic development team in partnership with Clear Village Charitable Trust. The input of many local residents and traders was used to inform the content and design.
Cllr Jayne McCoy, Lib Dem chair of Sutton Council’s Housing, Economy and Business Committee, said: “We are determined to work together with the community to cement our borough’s growing reputation as a creative, vibrant and innovative corner of London and one of the most popular places to live and work.
“That’s why we have created this toolkit which is not only a comprehensive local guide, but also provides inspiration for local people to begin developing and sharing ideas about how we can revitalise our borough.
“By working with our residents, those who care most about Sutton, we can start to shape the future of our town centres together. We look forward to seeing people’s ideas put into effect.”
Robin Houterman, Project Impact Manager at Clear Village Charitable Trust, said: “We believe that instruments like this toolkit are a great way to help local communities build on their assets and improve their neighbourhood. We would like to thank Sutton Council, local councillors, residents and business owners for giving us the opportunity to develop the toolkit with them.”
Find the Local Centres Regeneration Toolkit at http://toolkit.opportunitysutton.org/