Race is on to find best high streets

Gov­ern­ment has launched sec­ond Great Bri­tish High Street con­test

Buckinghamshire Advertiser - - FRONT PAGE - by Jack Abell jack.abell@trin­i­tymir­ror.com

VIL­LAGES in Buck­ing­hamshire have the chance to win a share of a £50,000 fund­ing pot to im­prove their high streets.

The Great Bri­tish High Street 2015 has be­gun, giv­ing towns and vil­lages the op­por­tu­nity to com­pete for a share of the money.

It is the sec­ond year the con­test has been run.

Last year, 135 com­mu­ni­ties bat­tled it out to be crowned the na­tion’s best.

The com­pe­ti­tion is de­signed to re­vi­talise high streets by pro­mot­ing the great work be­ing done in them and by shar­ing good ideas.

Peo­ple have al­ready shared their thoughts on the best of Bucks.

Garry Brown, chair­man of the Busi­ness and Traders for Chal­font St Giles group, said: “I’ve been pleased to see that the amount of empty shops in this area is fall­ing.

“The great thing about shop­ping in Chal­font St Giles is the sup­port that new shops get from peo­ple in the area. Peo­ple are great at com­ing out and us­ing the shops here.”

Oliver San­sum, who runs Oliver’s Op­ti­cians in Mar­ket Place, Chal­font St Peter, said: “The cus­tomer ser­vice that you get in lo­cal shops is much bet­ter than at out-of-town re­tail parks or in big­ger towns.

“Shopown­ers here know their cus­tomers, and cus­tomers like that, as well as the fact that there is such a va­ri­ety of shops here.”

As well as the cash prize on of­fer, win­ners will also re­ceive ded­i­cated sup­port and men­tor­ing from in­dus­try ex­perts which could range from oneto-one coach­ing to ad­vice on dig­i­tal mar­ket­ing.

The gov­ern­ment’s high streets min­is­ter, Penny Mor­daunt, is call­ing on com­mu­ni­ties to en­ter.

She said: “High streets are a vi­tal part of our econ­omy, sup­port­ing thou­sands of jobs in re­tail and leisure but they are also the heart of all com­mu­ni­ties, pro­vid­ing a great place for friends and fam­ily to meet.

“There is so much amaz­ing in­no­va­tion hap­pen­ing on our high streets. We want to re­ward the great work that is be­ing done to im­prove th­ese cru­cial as­sets as well as show­case ideas which can be a spring­board for oth­ers to try.”

The com­pe­ti­tion short­list will be an­nounced in Au­gust. Those short­listed will be vis­ited by the Fu­ture High Streets Fo­rum judg­ing panel, made up of in­dus­try lead­ers from across re­tail, prop­erty and busi­ness.

Peo­ple will be able to vote when short­listed can­di­dates are an­nounced.

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