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Helmsley crowned best market town high street in Britain

Helmsley has beaten off hundreds of high streets across the country to be named Britain’s Market Town high street.

Helmsley held off the challenge of Chipping Norton, Oxfordshire and Cole, Lancashire to be awarded the accolade at ceremony at Admiralty House in London earlier today.

A record number of 230 high streets entered and nearly 200,000 votes were cast across the seven categories.  This year the public got the chance to vote for the first time, alongside a visit by an expert judge from the Future High Streets Forum.

As a category winner of the Great British High Street Awards 2015, Helmsley will now receive a share of a prize pot worth £80,000 – alongside expert training and tailor-made tips from Google’s training taskforce for one hundred shops, bars and restaurants.

Carolyn Frank, Bid Leader from Libby Butler Jewellers said:
“Winning the city Great British High Street Award is a fantastic achievement. Over the past few years we’ve tried our best to adapt to the way people’s lives have been changing.

“That’s why we’re so pleased that the judges and the people of Helmsley and all our supporters have recognised all that we’ve done to improve our high street. We’re determined to make sure our happy high street stays at the heart of our community for years to come.

“This victory means the world to the local community and we’ll be sure to use it as a springboard to do even more. Thank you every one that voted – we’re thrilled.”

Judges were impressed by the by the independent spirit of the town, the range of events held throughout year such as the popular Christmas tree festival but also the number held to counteract seasonality. They were also impressed by the wide range of interesting schemes including the new ‘motorhome parking project’ bringing a regular flow of tourists to the town to support the evening economy. Helmsley in Business has undertaken a great PR campaign including website and social media, 3,800 twitter followers, 700 facebook followers and over 300 press pieces linked to the campaign.

High Streets Minister Marcus Jones said:
“The excitement this competition has generated with a huge level of interest from the public vote is proof that high streets are the life and soul of towns, villages and cities across the country.

“Over the last year investment in property is up 30%, town centre vacancy rates have fallen to under 10% and retail sales have increased for the longest period on record – long may it continue.

“Helmsley deserves the very highest praise for being a category winner in this year’s Great British High Street Awards.

“Their innovative ideas and hard work on the ground really made them stand out and we’ll be sharing their excellent example to help others learn from their success.”

The Great British High Street Awards 2015 is run by the Department for Communities and Local Government and sponsored by Boots, Costa, Post Office, Marks and Spencer, Tesco and the British Council of Shopping Centres.

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.

There were seven categories in the 2015 Great British High Street Awards.
City Location – Winner St Giles Street, Northampton
Town Centre – Winner Rotherham
Market Town – Winner Helmsley
Coastal Community – Winner Amble
Local Centre – Winner Bishy Road, York
Village – Winner West Kilbride
London – Winner Pitshanger Lane, Ealing

Bishy Road was named winner of winners.

In addition because of the high-quality of this year’s new entries the judges decided to create a special new prize of Best Newcomer – which was awarded to Faulkner Street, Hoole.

Winners were decided by a combination of an assessment by an expert judge from the Future High Streets Forum and the public vote. Each had a 50% say on who won the competition.

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