Tuesday, 11 December 2018

Crickhowell wins Champion High Street > highlighting the town’s range of independent, family-run businesses, as well as the community’s strength

Sidmouth's high street is in need of a little TLC:
Futures Forum: Sidmouth businesses welcome plans to cut rates, but still fear for future and rising costs

The businesses which are still on the high street look in trepidation to the empty premises next door:
Who will be filling the empty shops along Sidmouth's High Street? - Vision Group for Sidmouth

Perhaps we could learn from Crickhowell: 

The Welsh high street named the best in Britain

It beat 36 other high streets from across the UK

Aamir Mohammed
16 NOV 2018

A Welsh high street has been crowned the UK's best.

Located in a bustling rural town to the east of the Brecon Beacons, Crickhowell's high street was named both Wales' best high street and the overall UK winner. Cowbridge's high street has been announced as Wales’ "Rising Star High Street" in the Great British High Street Awards for 2018. These seven Welsh high streets were shortlisted for the award.

Crickhowell demonstrated a strong community-based approach to revitalising its high street, the awards said, and won £15,000 for the local community. In 2016, the community spent 10 months raising money to buy a local pub to prevent it being turned into a supermarket. More than 250 people from Crickhowell rallied together to raise £500,000 and buy their building back.

You can read more on that inspiring story here or watch the video below.

Seven Welsh streets were shortlisted for this year's awards, competing against 30 high streets from across the UK. The awards were presented at Lancaster House in London on Thursday. Earlier this year, these towns and villages were named the best places to live in Wales.

Chloe Masefield, owner of zero-waste shop Natural Weigh in Crickhowell, said: "It's an amazing achievement for the town. To be recognised as a small town with such a fantastic high street across the whole of the UK is fantastic. One of the reasons we moved here was because of the community spirit in the town. The support we have had from other businesses has been great and that's why we opened here.

"The town also fought back against a supermarket opening, which allowed shops like mine to open up, as the town supports independent local businesses. This award is great motivation for the town moving forward and recognises the fantastic work that goes in everyday."

Emma Corfield Walters, owner of Book-ish, and representing Crickhowell High Street (Image: John Nguyen/PA Wire)

Tim Jones, from Crickhowell Corn Exchange, said the achievements highlight the fantastic work locals have put in over the last few years.

"This award really has galvanised the community as a whole and highlights the fantastic work we do, it really is an astonishing achievement," he said. "We have a brilliant vibrant community that won't be defeated. I felt we'd have a chance to win a Welsh award but to beat high streets from across the UK is brilliant."

Around 150 people turned out in Crickhowell High Street to oppose plans to convert a pub in the High Street into a convenience store in 2016. (Image: Western Mail)

Mr Jones believes the award shows just how far they have come in the last two years.

He added: "We have shown what we can do when the community come together as one. Keeping the pub open allowed us to open up small businesses, all of which have benefited the town. The judges told us the competition was easy to judge as the work our town had done was fantastic."

Crickhowell was nominated for the Champion High Street award by the town’s Corn Exchange, highlighting the town’s range of independent, family-run businesses, as well as the community’s strength. The community’s 'Totally Locally 'campaign brought over 100 shops and businesses together to encourage visitors and residents to shop locally.

The UK government's high streets minister, Jake Berry, said: “Congratulations to Crickhowell and to all of the winners and finalists nominated for this year’s Great British High Street Awards. Across the whole UK, there’s a real determination from local communities to keep their high street vibrant and strong, and these Awards reflect that.”

How are the awards split?

The awards are split into two categories.

The Champion High Street category awards the best high street in England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. High streets are judged on four pillars of success: community, customer experience, environment and digital transformation. Each regional winner will be awarded a £5,000 contribution towards a street party.

The Rising Stars category celebrates places that are striving to revive, adapt and diversify. It aims to find the UK's most ambitious high streets and makes a refreshing change from the usual doom and gloom about the state of our high streets .

How is it judged?

The 38 shortlisted high streets battled it out in a public vote, which accounts for 30 per cent of the final scoring, and will then have the chance to impress an expert judging panel as they seek to be crowned Britain’s best.

Great British High Street judges visited each high street in September and October. Their marks accounted for 70 per cent of the overall vote.

The Welsh high street named the best in Britain - Wales Online

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