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Treorchy in Wales is crowned Britain’s Best High Street

A high street in the picturesque Welsh valleys has been crowned High Street of the Year, beating out 40 others.

Treorchy High Street – nestled in the Rhondda Fawr Valley – triumphed over better-known high streets because of its commitment to the local community, an improving customer experience, an innovative approach to retail and an environmental mind set.

It won the coveted title and the £15,000 prize at the Great British High Street Awards – run by the Ministry of Housing, Communities & Local Government – in Edinburgh. 

The ceremony was attended by the High Streets Minister Jake Berry and representatives from 39 shortlisted high streets.

Mr Berry said: ‘Every place has its own unique strengths and challenges, but all our town centres and high streets have one thing in common – they are the beating heart of our communities.

‘The Great British High Street Awards celebrate the grit and determination of local people who are dedicated to supporting their communities, growing their local economy and finding innovative solutions to modern day challenges.

‘In Edinburgh, I saw the very best of our high streets and I want to take this opportunity to congratulate all of this year’s winners and to give my personal thanks to the individuals and communities helping to build the future of the high street.

‘I am delighted to see such strong examples of thriving high streets from every nation in our United Kingdom.’

Belper Town Centre was named a ‘Champion High Street’ in England, as were High Street in Newtownards, Northern Ireland,and Main Street in Prestwick, Scotland. 

Britain’s best high streets revealed

England

Hitchin Town Centre, Hitchin

Freeman Street, Grimsby

Belper Town, Belper

Scotland

Turriff High Street, Turriff

Prestwick Main Street, Prestwick

Alness High Street, Ross-Shire

Wales

Narberth High Street, Narberth

Swansea High Street, Swansea 

Treorchy High Street, Treorchy WINNER

 Northern Ireland 

Newtownards High Street, Newtownards

Enniskillen Town Centre, Enniskillen 

Bow Street, Lisburn   

Britain’s Best High Street: Treorchy, Rhondda Cynon Taff

The breathtaking village – nestled in the picturesque Rhondda Fawr Valley – was nominated by owner of The Lion pub Adrian Emmett.

His nomination followed successful high street initiatives undertaken by the local community, including regular cultural events such as a Christmas Parade and the Rhondda Arts Festival.

A newly launched ‘Visit Treorchy’ website has helped give local businesses a greater presence online – before this, only 32 per cent of businesses had a website – while a strategic partnership provides digital training and support to local entrepreneurs.

A ‘Hop, Shop and Save’ scheme offers businesses advertising space on local buses in return for instore discounts for customers.

This helps to promote public transport, reduce air pollution and drive footfall to high street outlets – 80 per cent of which are independently owned.

Treorchy also hosts year-round activities. Last year the town hosted a two-night outdoor cinema event, which was attended by 500 people each night, an art festival and its annual Christmas Parade.

It took home a £15,000 prize for the local community in the coveted Great British High Street Awards, in partnership with Visa.

The news comes as research from Visa found 80 per cent of consumers said a thriving high street makes a town or village a more appealing destination.

Mr Emmett said: ‘So I am the local land lord. I have two pubs in the town and I have been here for about eight-and-a-half-years.

‘Both the pubs were boarded up when bought them. Now they are thriving.

‘Two years ago, we took the Chamber of Trade from 30 members up to 120.

‘This has come about from local community entrepreneurs taking control. It is a bottom-up approach.’

‘If the community didn’t shop local we wouldn’t have a high street.’

He added: ‘When you come to Treorchy, you get a unique experience.’

Treorchy High Street in the picturesque Welsh valleys has been crowned High Street of the Year, beating out 40 others

The breathtaking village was nominated by owner of The Lion pub Adrian Emmett. It is nestled in the Rhondda Fawr Valley

The breathtaking village was nominated by owner of The Lion pub Adrian Emmett. It is nestled in the Rhondda Fawr Valley

Mr Emmett's nomination followed successful high street initiatives undertaken by the local community, including regular cultural events such as a Christmas Parade and the Rhondda Arts Festival

Mr Emmett’s nomination followed successful high street initiatives undertaken by the local community, including regular cultural events such as a Christmas Parade and the Rhondda Arts Festival

A newly launched ¿Visit Treorchy¿ website has also helped give local businesses a greater presence online. Pictured: The high street

A newly launched ‘Visit Treorchy’ website has also helped give local businesses a greater presence online. Pictured: The high street

Rising Star of the Year: The Square, Kelso 

‘Rising Star of the Year’, which identifies the high street taking the lead to adapt and diversify, was awarded to The Square in Kelso, a market town in the Scottish Borders area.

It was commended for its innovative initiatives designed to drive footfall and consumer spending on the high street.

The street was nominated by Tina Newton, of Border Cookware in Kelso, after the town managed to increase footfall despite cuts to services. 

The community aims to launch a bespoke app to promote a variety of events, activities, businesses and organisations in order to raise awareness.

Within the app will be a bespoke area guide, as well as an interactive PDF linking to the Visit Kelso website and individual business’s websites. 

'Rising Star of the Year', which identifies the high street taking the lead to adapt and diversify, was awarded to The Square in Kelso, a market town in the Scottish Borders area

‘Rising Star of the Year’, which identifies the high street taking the lead to adapt and diversify, was awarded to The Square in Kelso, a market town in the Scottish Borders area

Who are all the winners at the Great British High Street Awards

High Street of the Year: High Street, Treorchy

Rising Star of the Year: The Square, Kelso

Champion High Streets:

England: Belper Town Centre, Belper

Scotland: Main Street, Prestwick

Wales: High Street, Treorchy

Northern Ireland: High Street, Newtownards

Rising Star High Streets:

England: Yarm High Street, Stockton-on-Tees

Scotland: The Square, Kelso

Wales: Palace Street, Caernarfon

Northern Ireland: Newry City Centre, Newry

England’s Champion High Street: Belper Town Centre, Belper

In the Medieval era, the Derbyshire town was a hub for the nail-making industry.

During the industrial revolution, it became one of the first mill towns and has since become part of the Derwent Valley Mills World Heritage Site. 

In the Medieval era, the Derbyshire town was a hub for the nail-making industry. Belper Town Centre was England's champion high street

In the Medieval era, the Derbyshire town was a hub for the nail-making industry. Belper Town Centre was England’s champion high street

Scotland’s Champion High Street: Main Street, Prestwick

Prestwick has a rich history, getting it’s name from the Old English for priest’s farm.

In the 1930’s the town’s airport opened. It now caters to airline Ryanair.  

Prestwick has a rich history, getting it's name from the Old English for priest's farm. The town was Scotland's Champion High Street

Prestwick has a rich history, getting it’s name from the Old English for priest’s farm. The town was Scotland’s Champion High Street

Northern Ireland’s Champion High Street:  High Street, Newtownards

The town in County Down, Northern Ireland, dates back to 540 AD when a monastery was found on a hill overlooking Strangford Lough. 

During The Troubles,a car bomb attack on 5 July 1993, saw Roma’s Bar in Regent Street destroyed.

The pub has since been rebuilt. 

Newtownards in County Down, Northern Ireland, dates back to 540 AD when a monastery was found on a hill overlooking Strangford Lough

Newtownards in County Down, Northern Ireland, dates back to 540 AD when a monastery was found on a hill overlooking Strangford Lough

England Champion finalist: Hitchin Town Centre, Hitchin

The market town in North Hertfordshire is home to the world’s only surviving complete Lancasterian Schoolroom.

It was built in 1837 to teach boys by the Lancasterian method – which involves students teaching their classmates what they learned in years past.

Hitchin in North Hertfordshire is home to the world's only surviving complete Lancasterian Schoolroom. The town centre was a finalist in England's Champion category

Hitchin in North Hertfordshire is home to the world’s only surviving complete Lancasterian Schoolroom. The town centre was a finalist in England’s Champion category

England Champion finalist: Freeman Street, Grimsby

Grimsby in North East Lincolnshire is a seaport on the Humber estuary.

Its population was recorded as 88,243 in 2011 and, in the mid-20th century it was recorded as having the biggest fishing fleet in the world.

Grimsby in North East Lincolnshire is a seaport on the Humber estuary. Grimsby was a finalist in the England Champion category

Grimsby in North East Lincolnshire is a seaport on the Humber estuary. Grimsby was a finalist in the England Champion category

Scotland Champion finalist:  Turriff High Street, Turriff

The Aberdeenshire town is home to the ‘Turriff Show’ – what is widely accepted to be Scotland’s largest two-day agricultural show. 

Historically, it was the scene of the very first engagements of the Wars of the Three Kingdoms and saw the Marquis of Huntly assemble his forces there. 

Turriff in Aberdeenshire is home to the 'Turriff Show' - what is widely accepted to be Scotland's largest two-day agricultural show

Turriff in Aberdeenshire is home to the ‘Turriff Show’ – what is widely accepted to be Scotland’s largest two-day agricultural show

Scotland Champion finalist: Alness High Street, Ross-Shire

The Scottish Highlands town is home to stunning mountain scenery.  

The community banded together in 1995 in a bid to improve the high street, and they made sure to brighten it up with plants and flowers.  

Since 1997, Alness won Scotland in Bloom four times. In 2006 it was awarded Champion of Champions at gardening competition Britain in Bloom.

The community banded together in 1995 in a bid to improve Alness High Street, and they made sure to brighten it up with plants and flowers

The community banded together in 1995 in a bid to improve Alness High Street, and they made sure to brighten it up with plants and flowers

Wales Champion finalist: Narberth High Street, Narberth

The town in the east of Pembrokeshire is home to a multitude of independent shops.

Stunning Narberth Castle dates back to the 13th century. It was taken by Oliver Cromwell in the English Civil War.

Narberth in the east of Pembrokeshire is home to a multitude of independent shops. It was a Wales Champion finalist category

Narberth in the east of Pembrokeshire is home to a multitude of independent shops. It was a Wales Champion finalist category

Wales Champion finalist:  Swansea High Street, Swansea

Coastal city Swansea earned the nickname Copperopolis in the 19th century due to it being a key centre in the copper-smelting industry.

It is the second largest city in Wales and, in 2014, had a recorded population of 241,300 making it the second-most populated Welsh area after Cardiff.

Coastal city Swansea earned the nickname Copperopolis in the 19th century due to it being a key centre in the copper-smelting industry

Coastal city Swansea earned the nickname Copperopolis in the 19th century due to it being a key centre in the copper-smelting industry

Northern Ireland Champion finalist: Enniskillen Town Centre, Enniskillen 

Enniskillen is a town and civil parish in County Fermanagh, Northern Ireland and has a population of approximately 14,000 people.

The name Enniskillen comes from the Irish Inis Ceithleann meaning island of Cathleen, who was an Irish mythological character. 

Enniskillen is a town and civil parish in County Fermanagh, Northern Ireland and has a population of approximately 14,000 people

Enniskillen is a town and civil parish in County Fermanagh, Northern Ireland and has a population of approximately 14,000 people

Northern Ireland Champion finalist: Bow Street, Lisburn

Lisburn city sits southwest of Belfast in a green fertile valley just beside the river Lagan. 

The city’s strollable and car-free city centre is often crowded with shoppers heading for Bow Street Mall and the Georgian-style Lisburn Square. 

Lisburn city sits southwest of Belfast in a green fertile valley just beside the river Lagan

Lisburn city sits southwest of Belfast in a green fertile valley just beside the river Lagan

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