Belper retailers were delighted to learn the town has been shortlisted for the Great British High Street awards this week, with voting open now.
A group of business owners teamed up to submit an application under the Love Belper umbrella earlier this year, setting out all the work they had done locally to help the retail sector thrive.
They have been rewarded with a spot in the Champion High Street category, against two other English locales which are leading the way to the high streets of the future in terms of community, customer experience, environment and digital transformation.
Lindsey Myers, the former owner of Givillon Tea Rooms who helped put the application together, said: “We were absolutely thrilled to get the news. Belper won High Street of the Year in 2014 but we wanted to show that we have kept on improving.
“The community section was our real strong point. Everyone who lives or works in Belper thinks it is fantastic, and any time there is an event in the town everyone comes out to support it.”
She added: “The nomination is a real testament to that, and it would be great to have a panel of judges come and see how special it is.”
The final decision on the winner is weighted 80 per cent on the judges’ verdict, and 20 per cent on public votes.
The panel will be making their inspection visit on Wednesday, September 4, 1–3pm, and residents are invited to come out and show the town at its best.
In the meantime, anyone can cast their vote by going to thegreatbritishhighstreet.co.uk. If Belper wins, the town could win up to £15,000 for high street improvements.
Jake Berry MP, the government minister for local growth, said: “Congratulations to Belper. People are happier when they can see their hard-earned cash support local businesses, and there has been some brilliant work to make the high street really welcoming.
“High streets like this one define the spirit of ambition and innovation which is helping give new energy to local economies.”