The Department for Communities and Local Government created the Future High Streets Forum in 2014, which subsequently established the Great British High Street of The Year competition to champion the innovative work of local people up and down the country who are working together to support their high streets.
The Department has processed a record 230 applications for this year’s awards, each of which has been marked against the criteria of ‘Innovation’, ‘Collaboration’ and ‘Transitions & Outcomes’. My hon. Friend, the Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government (Marcus Jones) has had no involvement in the judging of the competition, retail experts from a range of organisations including Boots, Post Office, Costa, Marks & Spencer, Argos, Google, British Beer & Pubs Association, British Council of Shopping Centres and Dartford Borough Council have been brought together by the Department to form an official judges panel.
The overall winners from the shortlisted finalists will be decided based on merits seen on a judge’s visit, and also the outcome of a public vote. The weighting of the two judging mechanisms will be 50/50.
In 2014, the Department funded the Association of Town City Management £77,000 to develop and launch the Great British High Street website (http://thegreatbritishhighstreet.co.uk/), branding and communication materials, including the launch of the Great British High Street Competition. We are continuing to support the Association in 2015 with a small amount of resource to maintain and develop the website and competition. The Department has also secured support and sponsorship from Boots, Post Office, Costa, Marks & Spencer, Argos, Tesco and Google, resulting in an £80,000 prize pot for this year’s competition.