Monday, 23 June 2014 08:32

Competition to find best high streets

Written by  Ruralcity Media
Competition to find best high streets

THE government has launched a national competition to find Britain's best high streets.

Local government minister Brandon Lewis launched the Great British High Street Awards amid new evidence showing that high streets were "rising to the challenge set by consumers who want increased convenience and more flexibility of services".

The competition is being run by the Future High Streets Forum and the Association of Town and City Management.

There are six separate categories - including city centre, town centre, market town, coastal community, village and parade of shops

Many high streets affected by the economy in 2008 were now thriving as a result of changes made to serve their communities in increasingly popular ways.

The government's long-term economic plan had supported local high streets with a billion pound package of investment.

It included targeted business rate discounts, sensible planning changes and action tackling over-zealous parking practices.

Mr Lewis said: "Whether it is a market town, coastal village or city centre, there are so many high streets across Britain doing fantastic work and now every community will be able to get behind their home town's bid to show how popular they are."

The competition would discover where the Great British high streets were and "celebrate their brilliance".

Mr Lewis added: I want the public to tell my panel of experts why their area should win. The most popular will get all the accolades that come with being named the best in Britain when we announce the winners in autumn.

The competition comes as new analysis by Experian found that high street managers and shop owners are positive about the future.

A strengthening economy and the emergence of the 'one stop shopper' who prioritises convenience and leisure are contributing to greater footfall and people spending more time on the high street, it says.

The study identifies the rise of this evolving consumer behaviour where shoppers prefer 'convenience culture' such as click-and-collect services so they can multi-task and have more time to socialise while doing their shopping in this convenient way.

Future High Street Forum co-chairman Simon Roberts said: "High streets and town centres form the heart of many communities.

They are what many towns are defined by and provide a focal point for local populations.

The Experian report co-authored by the Association of Town and City Management (ATCM) can be viewed on the ATCM website.

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