Croydon Tech City founder Jonny Rose has revealed that he intends to lobby for the £50 million fund that David Cameron set aside for the redevelopment of “Silicon Roundabout” in Old Street, East London.
Croydon, now home just over a thousand tech companies, was dubbed London's fastest growing tech cluster in a recent study but the area is yet to receive any public funding. Indeed, the Borough of Croydon in South London saw 23 percent growth in the local tech economy since 2011, outstripping the wider London region by a third and the Central/East London region by nearly 12 percent.
Rose, the leader of Croydon’s Tech City movement in South London, said he plans to lobby City Hall and central government in the hope of securing some of the £50 million Cameron announced for redeveloping Old Street.
The Prime Minister announced the investment in December 2012 but the government is yet to release the funding to London Mayor Boris Johnson and the other organisations that were scheduled to deliver the project.
London's City Hall told Techworld last month that the money is being held by The Treasury because it is “pending alternative proposals for its use.”
“I’m going to start making an aggressive move on that £50 million pot,” Rose told Techworld yesterday.
Rose believes politicians are now looking to piggyback on Croydon’s success, as they did with Shoreditch in the early days.
“It [Shoreditch] hasn’t got that kind of pre-2010 buzz,” he claimed. “Croydon Tech City has definitely got that now...we have MPs discussing us."
Indeed, an increasing number of politicians, particularly Boris Johnson, are now saying that Tech City expands from Croydon in the south to King’s Cross in the North.
“They’ve committed to a holistic Tech City,” said Rose. "If you’re really growing Tech City Boris, then invest in South London. Or you’re lying."
The government has asked Tech City UK to expand its remit beyond London and to other tech clusters around the UK, found in cities such as Cambridge, Bristol and Brighton.