The Mayor of London Boris Johnson has committed a further £9m to rejuvenate the capital’s town centres, which are under pressure from etailers and retail parks.

Grants from the £9m pot, available from this autumn, can be used to improve shop fronts and public spaces, and hold mini festivals. The funding follows £221m already committed to boost the high street to fend off competition from the internet and retail parks.

The funding forms part of the ‘Mayor’s Action for High Streets’ plan, aimed to encourage small businesses and community groups to take a bigger role in applying for grants to improve their local town centres.

“[High streets] are where Londoners come together to work, relax, meet and play”

Boris Johnson

The Mayor’s team said there could be potential space for retail development and new homes in locations such as behind a railway station or on top of a car park.

Johnson said: “Our high streets have been under great pressure from the rapid growth of retail parks and internet shopping. But their great strength is that they offer so much more than simply shopping. They are where Londoners come together to work, relax, meet and play and they buzz with activity from morning to late at night.

“However, they are also key to the London economy and that is why we must make the most of their huge potential. We are delivering a comprehensive plan that will do everything possible to protect and support their incredible vibrancy.”

The mayor said hundreds of thousands of new jobs could be created as a result of the funding, and a further 155,000 homes built.