JUDGES for this year’s Great British High Street Awards were in Alton last Tuesday after the town centre was short-listed in the ‘Champion’ category.
Run by the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government, the shortlisting is a real coup for the town and focuses on “the community that brings the High Street together".
The judges - Alex Schlagman, co-founder of SaveTheHighStreet.org; James Lowman, chief executive of the Association of Convenience Stores; and Elvira Schachermeier, chief officer in charge of communications for Visa in Europe - began their tour of the town at the Allen Gallery where they met volunteers, among them a representative of Wey Valley Radio, and Alton mayor Derek Gardner.
They then walked down the High Street, past environmental projects such as the electric car-charging points, meeting Alton Local Food Initiative representatives at the planter by Costa, and on to the water fountain in the Public Gardens to meet Peter Earp, the nominated ‘High Street Hero’, and his former apprentice, Charlie Tindall, before meeting representatives from the Alton Society who spoke about the annual litter pick and the town’s pride in its built environment.
During their visit the judges took the opportunity to talk to market stall holders and shop keepers, as well as representatives from Alton Town Council, East Hampshire District Council, Alton Matters and Dementia Friendly Alton, and learned about how the town is ’disability confident’.
Town council business development manager Julie McLatch said: “Alton being shortlisted for such a prestigious award is testament to the invaluable contribution the volunteers make to the town. Without their time and enthusiasm the High Street would be less vibrant, and the business owners that the judges spoke to certainly reinforced that message.”
People have until October 31 to vote for the town. To vote, visit alton.gov.uk.
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