A European initiative called JESSICA* could be very good news for Thamesmead’s regeneration plans because out of this initiative has been created the Greater London Authority (GLA)’s Big Green Fund (BGF).
Through the All London Green Grid (ALGG), the GLA aims to create a network of interlinked, multifunctional and high quality open spaces connecting town centres, public transport hubs, major employment and residential areas with the parks and open spaces, the Thames and the green urban fringe.
Thamesmead is part of ALGG Area 5 and Bexley Council, with support from Gallions Housing Association, Urban Initiatives, Thames Water, ourselves and Crossness Engines Trust, have been developing a bid to the BGF, which will provide grants of up to £500,000 - from a total fund of £2 million - to support the delivery of up to six Big Green projects.
The Thamesmead bid focusses on the walking route from Lesnes Abbey Woods, through South Thamesmead, over The Ridgeway and on to Crossness Engines and the Thames Path.
The Trust’s Head of Social Enterprise Richard Fishlock has been playing a part in developing the bid, and he believes Thamesmead has a good chance of securing funding.
“We invited officers from the GLA down a few weeks back to walk the route, and it was clear that they could see the potential and the needs of the area. It was a bitterly cold day, but sunny, so hopefully the walk will bring our application to life for them.”
“We finished up at The Link, which was great because they were the same officers who assessed and approved our Pocket Park application; consequently they were able to see for themselves the impact that their support will have and the connections that can be made with our Big Green Fund application,” added Richard.
A decision is due in May, so we’ve all got our fingers crossed.
*JESSICA (Joint European Support for Sustainable Investment in City Areas) is an initiative, developed by the European Commission (EC) and the European Investment Bank (EIB) in collaboration with the Council of Europe Development Bank, to enable sustainable regeneration activity to be delivered in Europe’s urban areas.
JESSICA works by allowing EU Member States to make contributions from their Structural Fund Programmes, along with funding from other public and/or private sources, to urban development funds (UDFs). The UDFs then invest these monies, in the form of equity, loan and/or guarantee - not grants - in urban development projects. This is a strategically important delivery mechanism as any return on investments can be reinvested in other urban development projects.
JESSICA in London: the London Green Fund.
The London Green Fund (LGF) is a £100 million fund set up to invest in schemes that will cut London’s carbon emission. The fund was launched in October 2009 by the Mayor of London and the European Commissioner for Regional Policy - the first JESSICA Holding fund in the UK.