Tunbridge Wells misses out on High Street of the Year prize
by William Mata | 16th November 2018
WELSH town Crickhowell has been crowned winner of The Great British High Street 2018, ahead of Tunbridge Wells.
The Visa-sponsored awards also named Altrincham in Greater Manchester as England’s Best High Street. There were 26 on the overall shortlist.
The High Street, Chapel Place and The Pantiles all formed the Tunbridge Wells entry and hopes were high when judges looked around in October.
Town MP Greg Clark said at the time The Pantiles was one of the ‘most beautiful streets in the UK’.
But after judges scores combined with a public vote [which made up 30 per cent of the score] it was Crickhowell announced as winner at a ceremony in London on Thursday [November 15].
Royal Tunbridge Wells Together, the business group that put the town forward, is now looking to enter the 2019 competition.
Awards judge Hemlata Narasimhan said: "Crickhowell is a fantastic example of a community that has made huge strides in transforming its high street.
"The town’s tourism website advertises the high street as one of the few shopping streets left in Wales, where local businesses selling local produce recall a long-lost era when all high streets reflected the character of their town."
Tunbridge Wells also entered the awards when they were last held in 2016.
Karen Pengelly, Manager of Business Group Royal Tunbridge Wells Together, said: “Obviously we’re disappointed we didn’t win the award but we were up against some stiff competition.
“Our local businesses deserved the award but the simple fact we were shortlisted is testament to the effort that all the businesses put in to making their customer experience as good as it can be.
“The judges were looking for very clear indicators on digital experience, community involvement and innovation.”
She added: “The overall winner was Crickhowell in Wales, it’s harder for a town the size of Royal Tunbridge Wells to compete against a small town like Crickhowell but we’ll be entering again next year and the experience of being shortlisted has definitely taught us some valuable lessons for when we come to write next year’s entry. Nothing ventured, nothing gained!”