THE campaign to see Tamworth crowned the best town centre in the country is now underway in earnest, with all the stops being pulled out in a bid to secure the top title.
Posters, banners and leaflets will be going out across the area as Tamworth embarks on a six-week campaign to win the Great British High Street awards.
Tamworth is the only town in the West Midlands to have made it to the shortlist of 21 finalists competing in seven different categories – out of a record 230 entrants – in the Department for Communities and Local Government contest.
The town will now battle it out against Rotherham and Altrincham in the ‘town centre’ category in a bid to win a share of an £80,000 prize pot.
But to be in with a chance of winning, the Tamworth campaign needs the support of businesses, visitors and residents as 50 per cent of the final decision is based on public votes, alongside a visit to the town by expert judges.
Votes for Tamworth can be cast online at www.thegreatbritishhighstreet.co.uk once a day, every day, so people are being urged to make voting for Tamworth a part of their daily routine, using all email accounts in their name.
So far, more than 25,000 votes have been cast across the country and running orders are expected to be published in the coming weeks to show each town where it stands.
Tamworth Borough Council’s Cabinet member for Economy, Cllr Steve Claymore, said: “This campaign is not just a case of going online, casting your vote and that’s it job done. This has got to be a sustained community effort for the next few weeks.
“We need people to keep logging on and voting for Tamworth every single day, from every email account they hold. Voting takes seconds – all you have to do is enter your email address; there’s no registration or form filling.
“We do have a lot to offer in Tamworth, and the fact we are the only town in the West Midlands to have made it through to the final is testament to that. All town centres have their issues, but this competition is about recognising the contribution they still make to communities; acknowledging work being done to revitalise them and securing their place for the future.
“In Tamworth we have a lot to be proud of including a growing number of independent and creative businesses, a thriving market, the £5.5million Creative Quarter plans, a rich heritage, beautiful town centre park, Heart of England in Bloom Gold status and one of the region’s busiest retail parks just a stone’s throw away.
“Winning the competition would give us access to even more money and training for businesses which would further boost our efforts to improve the town.”
Major schemes to revitalise Tamworth town centre are being implemented in conjunction with Staffordshire County Council.
Staffordshire County Council’s Economy leader, Cllr Mark Winnington, said: “A lot of work has been going on in Tamworth to regenerate it and attract more visitors to the town centre. Together with the borough council, we have improved connections in the town through our Gateways project – most recently completing the first phase of the Ladybridge scheme to link the centre with Ventura Park.
“We’re now looking forward to the start of development of the Creative Quarter. It’s great for Tamworth and Staffordshire that the town centre has been selected as one of the best in the country. I would urge everyone to support Tamworth’s bid to be the nation’s top town centre.”
Businesses, visitors and residents are also urged to share their votes and experiences of Tamworth on Facebook and Twitter, using the hashtag #GBHighSt #Tamworth.
Voting closes on November 13. Experts from the Future High Streets Forum judging panel will be inspecting the town on a date to be announced.
The Great British High Streets Competition is sponsored by Boots, Costa, Post Office, Marks & Spencer and Tesco and is now in its second year. A total of 135 communities entered last year with Belper in Derbyshire being crowned as the overall winner, resulting in boosted town pride and increased footfall.