TAMWORTH’S bid to be crowned the best high street in Britain has received backing from Prime Minister David Cameron.
The PM was put in the picture about Tamworth’s campaign to take the top title in the Great British High Street awards by Tamworth MP Christopher Pincher – which prompted him to write a letter of support for the bid to Tamworth Borough Council Leader, Cllr Daniel Cook.
The letter reads: “Christopher Pincher MP has made me aware of the excellent work that Tamworth Borough Council has been doing to regenerate Tamworth town centre. I wanted to write personally to congratulate you and your colleagues on your efforts and, together with all the nominees, wish you the best of luck for the Great British High Street Award finals.”
Mr Cameron goes on to praise Tamworth’s plans for the new Creative Quarter and the restoration of Tamworth Assembly Rooms, which he described as ‘an exciting initiative for Tamworth that will create a significant number of new jobs and encourage private investment in the area’.
He signs off the letter saying: “This comes with my utmost thanks to your colleagues for your hard work, and my congratulations on being nominated for the Town Centre category in the Great British High Street Awards.”
Tamworth Borough Council Leader, Cllr Daniel Cook, said: “The Council welcomes the message from our Prime Minister, which I personally believe is thanks to the hard-working staff of the Council and the town centre businesses who all work hard all year round to ensure our historic town centre continues to outperform other towns.”
He added: “While we accept that we own very few premises in the town centre to allow us to directly influence the rents that shop keepers pay to their landlords, we can ensure that we help to create a positive environment around the town centre to ensure that it is attractive and welcoming to residents and visitors. The floral displays are not just about winning In Bloom competitions every year – they are part of a larger economic strategy to ensure the town centre is welcoming, bright and interesting, ensuring that visitors to the town enjoy the experience.
“Tamworth Borough Council remains committed to the town centre businesses and our heritage. We have invested more than £1 million in Tamworth Castle and soon work will begin on the Creative Quarter with much-needed works to Tamworth Assembly Rooms and the library giving the town centre another boost. The Gateways project continues to ensure the walkways into the town centre are inviting. With Ladybridge almost complete, we will look to start similar works on the routes from the railway station as part of the long-term economic plan for the town centre.
“For the government to credit Tamworth for these pieces of work to ensure the sustainability of the town centre is gratefully received.”
Cllr Steve Claymore, Cabinet member for Economy & Education said: “Raising the profile of Tamworth and breathing new life into the town centre is one of our priorities and a huge amount of work is taking place to achieve this aim.
“We have a lot to be proud of in Tamworth, 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.
“To have all this hard work and commitment to the regeneration of Tamworth town centre by the local businesses and Tamworth Borough Council recognised and endorsed by the Prime Minister is something which we should be hugely proud of.”
Tamworth now has to wait until November 30 to find out whether its campaign to lift the Great British High Street crown, ahead of its rivals Rotherham and Altrincham, has been successful, when the results are announced at a ceremony in London.
Competition judges spent two hours looking around the town centre earlier this month – and thousands of people went online to vote for the town to win.
A total of 21 finalists – chosen out of a record 230 entrants – are competing for the top title across seven different categories in this year’s Great British High Street awards.
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.