Judges have been announced to select winners of the Great British High Street Awards 2019 from a shortlist of 40 finalists.
A panel of 47 judges have been chosen to represent those who use and care about the high street, from teenagers, to older people, commercial customers and families. The panel combines public and private sector expertise, including proud partner Visa and sponsor Elavon.
The Great British High Street Awards celebrate the UK’s best and most ambitious high streets, with winners receiving up to £15,000 in prize money.
The Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government, in partnership with Visa, runs the awards. Winners showcase the best examples of how high streets can rise to the challenges of changing consumer behaviour in a changing retail environment.
Shortlisted high streets will be announced on 7 August and the public will then be able to cast their vote along with the independent judging panel.
The winners will be announced at an awards ceremony in November.
The Great British High Street judges:
List of the Great British High Street Awards 2019 judges (PDF, 82.9 KB, 2 pages)
How the government is backing the Great British high street:
£675 million Future High Streets Fund:
This will support local areas in England to renew and reshape town centres and high streets in a way that improves experience, drives growth and ensures future sustainability. More than 300 local authorities bid for a share of the funding in Round 1 of the competitive application process. The government welcomes this positive response as evidence of the appetite to reimagine and reinvent our towns and high streets. Over 50 places have been successful in progressing to the business case development phase. These will each receive a small amount of revenue funding and support from officials.
The Future High Streets Fund will also support the regeneration of heritage high streets (up to £55 million of the overall Fund). This was launched by Historic England on 18 May and closed on 12 July.
Providing one third off retailers’ business rate bills for two years from April 2019, for properties with a rateable value below £51,000. The support is available to a range of retail properties such as shops, restaurants, cafes and pubs, subject to State Aid and eligibility.
Supporting local leadership with a High Streets Task Force, giving high streets and town centres expert advice to adapt and thrive. This will provide hands-on support to local areas to develop data-driven innovative strategies and connect local areas to relevant experts. The Task Force will also provide training and help to improve coordination between different groups working to improve their high streets. We ran a competitive procurement process for an organisation to run the Task Force and have appointed the Institute of Place Management (IPM) to run the Task Force. Over the summer we will be working with them to agree a plan of work for the Task Force.
The planning consultation to help support change on the high street, making it easier for high streets to adapt for the future, with a wider range of retail, residential and other uses. As a result of this, new permitted development rights came into force on 25 May allowing more change of use between premises to enable businesses to adapt and diversify to respond to emerging consumer demands and avoid premises lying empty. We will also launch a new £1 million ‘High Streets CPO Support Fund’ in the Autumn this year, with a prospectus published over the summer in order to help address the structural challenges facing high streets.
Piloting a register of empty commercial properties to support wider regeneration of our high streets and town centres.
Launching an ‘Open Doors’ pilot in 5 town centres to bring empty properties back into use by matching landlords of vacant premises with local community groups looking for space. The confirmed locations that will be part of the pilot are Stoke-on-Trent, Bradford, Rochford, Kettering and Slough. During ‘High Streets Week’ (2 July 2019) community groups moved into sites in Stoke-on-Trent, Kettering and Bradford. Sites in Slough and Rochford will follow shortly.