Chipping Norton is one step closer to becoming Britain’s favourite high street after reaching the final of a prestigious national competition.
The town has pipped more than 200 entrants to battle for the crown and win a slice of £80,000 in prize money up for grabs in the Great British High Street competition.
Over the next six weeks it will compete with 20 other towns and cities across the country in seven categories for votes from the public and points from the judges to take the title.
If Chipping Norton beats two other high streets shortlisted in the market town category, Colne in Lancashire and Helmsley in Yorkshire, local businesses will be the big winners with 100 traders in the running to receive expert tips and training from Google to bolster their digital marketing.
High Streets Minister Marcus Jones said this year’s competition, which had attracted a record number of entries, was ‘testament to the pride local people have and brilliant work being done to boost Britain’s high streets’.
He said: “The local high street is the life and soul of many towns, villages and cities across the country and these awards are a great opportunity to not only celebrate those that are the best of the best, but also to help others learn their valuable tips for success.
“If you cherish the hard work going on in Chipping Norton then show your support and get voting.”
The Great British High Street competition is sponsored by Boots, Costa, Post Office, Marks and Spencer and Tesco. In its second year, the competition was designed to champion high streets as the cornerstones of the British community.
Chipping Norton’s entry is spearheaded by Experience Chipping Norton (ECN), a voluntary project promoting local trade, tourism and community events and ventures via the web and social media to inspire a bright future for the town.
Momentum for the entry followed the biggest gathering of businesses and civic dignitaries in Chipping Norton’s recent history at a packed public meeting initiated and managed by ECN at the town hall in January.
Preparations included a visit to last year’s winning town, Belper, which has seen retailers benefit from increased high street footfall and a major boost to town pride.
Shaun Fagan, spokesperson for ECN, wants an even better outcome for Chipping Norton.
He said: “Being a finalist recognises the efforts of the many volunteers who are pulling together to make our town a better place to live, work and raise families.
“Winning the market town category in the Great British High Street Awards will put Chipping Norton on the map for tourists to visit and businesses looking for a great place to set up. Not to mention the attention it will attract from people looking for a beautiful place to live.
“We’re going to be pulling out all the stops to make sure local people know all about Chipping Norton making the top three towns in its category. We urge everyone to show their support and get voting to help us reach number one.”
As well as public voting, shortlisted towns will be inspected by the Future High Streets Forum judging panel comprising industry leaders in retail, property and business.
The panel will visit Chipping Norton on a date to be set from mid-October. Expect a number of events and celebrations to take place as the big day approaches.
People can vote Chipping Norton as Britain’s favourite High Street online at http://thegreatbritishhighstreet.co.uk/high-street-of-the-year-award
Anyone can keep track of the competition by following the ECN Twitter page @ExperienceCN and the hashtag #Chippy2Win. Updates will also be posted regularly on the Experience Chipping Norton Facebook page and website.
Voting closes in early November.