Belper Town Council backs High Street award bid with judges due soon

King Street, Belper.
King Street, Belper.

Belper Town Council has backed the business community’s Great British High Street bid with just days to go now before the judges arrive.

Belper has been shortlisted for the Champion High Street Award, competing against 11 other locales across the whole of the UK.

The winner will be decided by a combination of 20 per cent public votes, and 80 per cent based on the findings of an expert judging panel — who will visit Belper on Wednesday, September 4, 1–3pm.

Town council clerk Emma Smith said: “We are delighted that Belper has once again been shortlisted for the Great British High Street Awards.

“This is a resounding affirmation and reflection of the hard work and great energy that we see in the town.”

She added: “The sheer diversity of local businesses and the many events that take place here, in and around the high street, are something of which we should all be proud.

“It makes Belper a very vibrant place to live and also to visit. May the best town win.”

The town’s bid was submitted by the Love Belper group of retailers and hospitality businesses, who are aiming to prove that they have built on the success of the award won by the town in 2014.

Laura Surga, the owner of Strut Menswear and one of the founders of Love Belper, said: “If we won it would be a nice reward for all the hard work we’ve put in — it would put the cherry on top.

“When we were putting the application together, we had a lot of evidence to choose from because so much has happened in the past couple of years, from Pride last month to the autumn pumpkin trail. We made a big point of celebrating Belper’s heritage too.”

She added: “We were giddy with excitement when we heard we had been shortlisted. Retail is tough at the moment. Hopefully this can give everyone a boost and encourage more people to shop here.”

The awards are judged according to criteria of community engagement, customer experience, environment and digital transformation.

The winner of the overall competition, which also includes 28 contenders for the ‘rising star’ award, will receive up to £15,000 for a high street development initiative.

Sundeep Kaur, of awards sponsor Visa, said: “High streets play a vital role at the heart of communities, so this is a great opportunity for those communities to show their support by voting.”

n For full details, go to www.thegreatbritishhighstreet.co.uk.