Rotherham has been named as one of the country’s best high streets after being shortlisted in the annual Great British High Street competition.
Rotherham town centre has been named alongside Altrincham and Tamworth as one of the top three in the ‘town’ category.
Rotherham Council’s Advisory Cabinet Member for Housing and the Local Economy Cllr Denise Lelliott said it was wonderful news for the town, recognising the efforts made by both new and established businesses, supported by various partners, to rejuvenate the town.
She added: “Our success in this competition is a big team effort and captures the essence of what we are all trying to achieve. It is all about showing how the town centre and the High Street is moving forward, and the continued progress we are making.
“It’s about being innovative and working in partnership to collectively transform the town centre; to create a revitalised independent shopping offer and to support enterprise.
“There is wonderful regeneration work taking place in our town and we’re proud that Rotherham has been recognised as being one of Britain’s best towns in this respect.
“We hope this competition will be a real boost for the town so we will be pulling out all the stops to make sure local people know about Rotherham’s shortlisting. Now, to be crowned champion, Rotherham needs your votes.”
Rotherham’s bid focused on the work to restore the area’s historic core and creating an attractive environment where people want to shop and relax.
This year’s competition saw a record 230 applicants and now, for the first time, the public has the chance to vote directly for their best-loved high street online. Between now and November you can cast your vote for free via The Great British High Street website.
If Rotherham wins, not only will they get a share of a prize pot worth £80,000, they’ll also win expert training and tailor-made tips from Google’s training taskforce – the Digital Garage on Tour – for 100 of their shops, bars and restaurants.
The Rotherham Advertiser is also supporting Rotherham’s bid through its #LoveRotherham campaign which promotes everything which is good about the town.
Cllr Lelliott added: “The #LoveRotherham campaign was supported by hundreds of Rotherham residents who told us what they loved about our town and now is the opportunity for residents to once again show their support for the town centre and get behind our fantastic town centre businesses, both new and established.”
High Streets Minister Marcus Jones said: “We had a record amount of high-quality entries to this year’s competition – testament to the pride local people have and brilliant work being done to boost Britain’s high streets.
“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 Rotherham then show your support and get voting.”
The Great British High Street Competition 2015 – sponsored by Boots, Costa, Post Office, Marks and Spencer and Tesco – is now in its second year and is one of a number of initiatives to help champion high streets as the cornerstones of the community.
These include a billion pound package of investment ranging from targeted business rate discounts, sensible planning changes and action that reins in over-zealous parking practices.
The first Great British High Street competition last year saw 135 communities battle it out to be crowned the nation’s best. Belper in Derbyshire emerged as the overall winner. Belper found that winning not only boosted town pride, but also had a tangible economic impact with retailers reporting increased footfall.
Alongside the public’s votes shortlisted towns will also be inspected by the Future High Streets Forum judging panel – made up of industry leaders from across retail, property and business.
This year’s competition also sees special recognition prizes for towns that have become ‘rising stars’, or local people who have made an invaluable personal contribution to their local high streets being launched.
Voting closes in November.