THERE is now just three weeks left to vote for Tamworth as the competition to find Britain’s best town centre reaches the halfway point.
Tamworth has been shortlisted in the ‘town centre’ category of the prestigious Great British High Street awards and is battling it out against Rotherham and Altrincham to win the top title – as well as the money, training and national recognition that goes with it.
After the overall shortlist of 21 finalists across seven categories was revealed, each area was given six weeks to state its case and, more importantly, win online votes from members of the public.
At the last count Tamworth was revealed as being in second place in the rankings behind Rotherham and ahead of Altrincham and, with three weeks left to go, it’s still all to play for.
News that Ankerside Shopping Centre is currently experiencing its lowest vacancy rate for several years is sure to boost Tamworth’s case when the judges visit in the coming weeks, especially when added to the fact the town centre also has its lowest vacancy rate since 2011, at 10 per cent.
Recent arrivals of retailers A Write Card, Fashion Zone and the X Catalogue Kings means there are now only two vacant units left in Ankerside Shopping Centre.
Its deputy manager, Jeff Wigley, said: “A number of new stores have opened their doors recently at Ankerside, and of course this is great news for the town and local community.
“Opening new stores means that job vacancies are available and with a wide mix of fashion, health and beauty and food and drink here at the centre, we hope this will continue to drive footfall.
“I have worked in Ankerside for more than 30 years and I am proud of Tamworth and its people. It’s great to see the community coming together to support each other as we compete for this award.
“Winning the award would encourage more people to visit the town and its attractions and it would be great to see Tamworth achieve the recognition it deserves.”
While the vacancy rate is fantastic news for the town, it is only one element of the competition and judges have also been impressed by a community of vibrant businesses and artists, the town’s huge programme of free events and the multi-million pound proposals to develop a Creative Quarter around the Corporation Street area.
But winning is only possible if Tamworth gets the votes.
Tamworth Borough Council’s Cabinet member for Economy, Cllr Steve Claymore, said: “Winning this award would be a fantastic boost to Tamworth and all the work that is being done to revitalise the town centre. A huge campaign has been mounted and together with the Town Team we are doing all we can to promote the area.
“However winning isn’t possible without the support of residents, businesses and visitors to the area. Half of the overall result depends on a public vote, so we need people to get online at www.thegreatbritishhighstreet.co.uk and cast their votes every day, from every email account in their name.”
Voting takes just seconds and there is no registration or form filling required. Voting closes on November 13.
Winners in each of the seven categories get a share of a prize pot worth £80,000 which includes expert training and tailor-made tips from Google’s training taskforce for 100 of their shops, bars and restaurants.
The Great British High Street Competition is sponsored by Boots, Costa, Post Office, Marks & Spencer and Tesco and is now in its second year.