West Kilbride named best UK high street in village category

The often windswept West Kilbride has now also beaten off hundreds of other communities to be named Britain’s best village high street.


West Kilbride battoned the challenge of Brigg, North Lincolnshire and Twyford, Berkshire to be awarded the accolade at a ceremony at Admiralty House in London earlier today.

A record number of 230 high streets entered and nearly 200,000 votes were cast across the seven categories.

This year the public got the chance to vote for the first time, alongside a visit by an expert judge from the Future High Streets Forum.

As a category winner of the Great British High Street Awards 2015, West Kilbride will now receive a share of a prize pot worth £80,000 – alongside expert training and tailor-made tips from Google’s training taskforce for one hundred shops, bars and restaurants.

Kay Hall, vice chairperson, West Kilbride Community Initiative said winning is a fantastic achievement”.

She said: “Over the past few years we’ve tried our best to adapt to the way people’s lives have been changing.

“That’s why we’re so pleased that the judges and the people of West Kilbride have recognised all that we’ve done to improve our high street and make sure it stays at the heart of our community for years to come.

“We’re going to use this win as a springboard to do even more. Thank you every one that voted – we’re thrilled.”

West Kilbride was named winner of the village category because of the transition made from a traditional holiday centre struggling to keep businesses afloat into a vibrant craft centre with a clear and visible, unique selling point.

Judges were impressed by the nine exceptionally well presented craft centres on the High Street and the Barony Centre an historic church converted into a community centre selling beautiful local craft items.

West Kilbride Community Initiative Limited has also purchased an old quarry and transformed it into quiet seated area with themed gardens for different parts of the community.

High Streets Minister Marcus Jones said: “The excitement this competition has generated with a huge level of interest from the public vote is proof that high streets are the life and soul of towns, villages and cities across the country.

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“Over the last year investment in property is up 30 per cent, town centre vacancy rates have fallen to under 10% and retail sales have increased for the longest period on record – long may it continue.

“West Kilbride deserves the very highest praise for being a category winner in this year’s Great British High Street Awards.

“Their innovative ideas and hard work on the ground really made them stand out and we’ll be sharing their excellent example to help others learn from their success.”

The Great British High Street Awards 2015 is run by the Department for Communities and Local Government and sponsored by Boots, Costa, Post Office, Marks and Spencer, Tesco and the British Council of Shopping Centres.

Now in its second year and is one of a number of initiatives to help champion high streets as the cornerstones of the community.

These include a billion pound package of investment ranging from targeted business rate discounts, sensible planning changes and action that reins in over-zealous parking practices.

There were seven categories in the 2015 Great British High Street Awards.

City Location – Winner St Giles Street, Northampton

Town Centre – Winner Rotherham

Market Town – Winner Helmsley

Coastal Community – Winner Amble

Local Centre – Winner Bishy Road, York

Village – Winner West Kilbride

London – Winner Pitshanger Lane, Ealing

Bishy Road was named winner of winners.

In addition, because of the high-quality of this year’s new entries the judges decided to create a special new prize of Best Newcomer – which was awarded to Faulkner Street, Hoole.

Winners were decided by a combination of an assessment by an expert judge from the Future High Streets Forum and the public vote. Each had a 50 per cent.


To live in Britain’s best village, search properties in West Kilbride

Source: heraldscotland 

Image source: www.flickr.com/seadave

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