Support growing for finalists in contest

Banbury town centre. NNL-161018-164737009

Banbury town centre. NNL-161018-164737009

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North Oxfordshire MP Victoria Prentis is among those to throw their support behind local finalists in the Great British High Street competition.

Banbury has joined Chipping Norton in the contest to find the country’s best high street and has been nominated in the town centre category.

Chipping Norton has been nominated in the small market town category for the second year running. It took silver in last year’s competition.

Chipping Norton resident Imogen Haverty, 16, who works at the Tea Set Cafe, has been shortlisted in the category of best under 25 involved in the high street. The Artery, in Banbury, is a finalist in the best shop on Twitter category.

Mrs Prentis said she was delighted to hear that Banbury, which was nominated by Cherwell District Council, had been confirmed as a finalist.

The public has until November 18 to vote at www.thegreatbritishhighstreet.co.uk/high-street-of-the-year-award. Shortlisted towns will also be inspected by a judging panel.

The winning towns will get a share of a £100,000 prize fund, and training for selected representatives of the town from Google and Twitter in London.

Mrs Prentis said: “I am thrilled Banbury has been shortlisted in the town centre category of the High Street of the Year awards.

“It is certain that we would not have reached this position without considerable support and help from local partners, our district council, businesses and of course, local people.

“Banbury has a thriving town centre and I am very pleased this has been recognised nationally.

“I encourage all of my constituents to vote for our much-loved town. We must support Banbury’s entry as a Great British High Street.”

West Oxfordshire District councillor James Mills said: “Retail is an important part of our local economy, offering convenience for local people and supporting West Oxfordshire’s buoyant tourism industry.

“I will be voting for Chippy and I am hoping they will get lots of support within the community.”

Chipping Norton was nominated by Experience Chipping Norton, which said of Imogen: “Imogen lights up The Tea Set on Chippy High Street with her warmth, sensitivity and attention to detail. She has helped owner Vicky Wills turn the new venture into a thriving, popular and award-winning eatery bringing delicious Cotswold class – not to mention some awesome cupcakes – to the town centre.”