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Blackburn is winner of The Great British High Street Awards

The winners of The Great British High Street Awards 2016 have been revealed after 900 entries, 42 finalists and over 500,000 votes.

Blackburn, Lancashire, has been named Overall Champion and Winner of the Local Centre category, after winning over judges with the range of improvements put in place by the collaboration between the Business Improvement District and the council. The Best High Street in Britain for 2016, their hard work to turn around the town is an inspiration to high streets across the country.

Blackburn was also winner of the Town Centre category, with Banbury and Hemel Hempstead runners up.

The beautiful Yorkshire town of Hebden Bridge was winner of the People’s Choice Award, with over 40,000 votes, the most ever received for a place in the history of the competition.

Other category winners include Derby, judged to be the best City Location, which  took the lead with its hard work to attract inward investment and turn the Cathedral Quarter into a respected brand. Home to over 450 businesses across the retail, professional and leisure sector, Derby is a wonderful example of how to support to all retailers – big and small. Castle Arcade District, Norwich and Broadmead, Bristol were runners up.

The Large Market Town category was won by Bridgnorth, which was lead by a relatively new partnership of local residents who are deeply passionate they are about their area. From great events using local history to their innovative Park and Ride scheme, Bridgnorth really impressed the judges and galvanised the local community to vote. Runners up were Hinckley and Market Harborough.

The Small Market Town winner was beautiful Hebden Bridge, which fought off some fierce competition from runners up Chipping Norton and Thame. The 2015 floods clearly have not dampened the resilience, determination and passion for the Market Town and the bounce back of the high street to 95% occupancy really stood out.

Falmouth won the Coastal Community category. Collaboration is key in this coastal community, with the local authority working closely with the BID and Town Team. The strong marketing and events on offer and the lowest vacancy rate in the South-West, blew our judges away. Prestatyn and Sea View Street, Cleethorpes were runners up.

The 2015 Best Newcomer, Hoole, won the Local Centre / Parade of Shops category. By working with both independents and national retailers and their commitment to deliver some amazing events and growing the local economy, the team have put Hoole on the map. Runners up were Claygate, Surrey and The Pantiles, Tunbridge Wells.

Pateley Bridge was judged to be the best Village, after a truly impressive campaign to galvanise the local vote. Proving big is not always best, this small village high street packs a real punch and over eighteen months has reduced the number of empty units to only 1, when there were 12 previously. Kirkby Lonsdale and Langport were the Village runners up.

Stockton is the 2016 Rising Star, a category introduced to reward high streets that are turning fortunes around. Stockton’s extraordinary transformation from its industrial past to visitor destination means it now pulls in crowds of up to 65,000 and their innovative “Rediscover Stockton” website & app offers businesses their own free web space to upload offers. Runners up were Leominster  and Dornoch.

The London category was won by Myddleton Road, Haringey, an example of the power of local people and business areas working together to support their area. Runners Up were  Lower Marsh & The Cut, Waterloo and Romford High Street.

High Street Heroes

This year’s competition also sought to recognise the individuals who are working hard to making our high streets great.  The Best independent store manager or employee was named as Adam Makey, Niche Comics, Huntingdon, with Tracey Lawler, The Dressing Room Boutique, Prestatyn and Wendy Howell, Design Essentials, Saffron Walden (Essex) runners up.

The Best national store manager or employee for 2016 is Zabir Khonat, M&S, Camden, joined by runners up Sally Francis, Boots Mansfield and Simon Dicken, Wilko Bedminster (Bristol)

The Retail Market Champion is Nicola Martin, Tameside Markets, with runners up Chris Hurdman, Thame and Beverley Milner-Simonds, Burnham on Sea

Emily Cotterill, Winchester Business Improvement District, won the Best Under 25 category, with Cameron Bennett, Waitrose Horley, Reigate and Imogen Haverty, The Tea Set, Chipping Norton as runners up.

This year social media giant, Twitter joined the Great British High Street competition by launching a new category for the best shop on Twitter: The 2016 #BestGBTwitterShop. The category is to highlight independent shops that are using the platform innovatively to promote their business and drive footfall to their local high street and the winner is:  @FleetwoodBeach

By all accounts Lancashire’s finest coffee outlet, Fleetwood Beach Kiosk is an example of how even the smallest shop can take to social media to build a business, support their local community and really get customers engaging with you on a daily basis. The runners up in this category are @arteryshop in Banbury and @heartgallery in Hebden Bridge.

For more details, follow @TheGBHighSt on Twitter and use the hashtag #GBHighSt.