Scheme will offer free design advice to local authorities in the capital

The mayor of London yesterday announced a pilot programme to revitalise public spaces in London using £200,000 of public money.

The announcement, predicted by Building in February, will provide a fund to give free design expertise for local authorities that want to improve the public spaces in their area.

Boris Johnson said that if successful the scheme would be quickly expanded and more cash could be put in to the programme. He said: “There is scope for tens of these.” Deputy mayor Sir Simon Milton said: “The intention is we'll kickstart this programme with £200,000 but lets see how it goes. There'll be more when more schemes come through.”

However, Milton said he was keen to avoid the experience of former mayor Ken Livingstone's "100 great places" initiative, from which he said only four or five ever got built out. “The money was being frittered away across too many projects,” he said.

To qualify for the help, planned spaces should perform well against a range of indicators, including being flexible in use, and “beautifully designed and rich in texture.” They will also have to be usable at most times of the day and night, and durable.

The programme will be administered by Design for London.