Blackburn has been named the overall winner of the Great British High Street of the Year 2016 and the Town Centre of the Year in a competition run by the Department for Communities and Local Government.
Blackburn was one of the first towns in the world to be industrialised, and was recently granted a £9m investment from the council for restoring heritage buildings back to their former glory.
The town centre has also established initiatives such as Blackburn Against Crime and redeveloped The Mall shopping centre to attract new businesses and hold free family events, which has boosted footfall by 8.7% in 2016 compared with the previous year.
The winners in each category share a prize pot worth £100,000, as well as expert training from Google’s digital taskforce for shops, bars and restaurants, and a trip to Twitter UK’s London office to boost their social media skills.
“Town centres are being revitalised, with vacancy rates falling over the last year, and Blackburn is a great example of how hard work and support for local businesses can turn things around,” said communities secretary Sajid Javid.
“The strong business improvement district is working closely with the council to invest in the town and put on a vibrant calendar of events that has seen visitors flock in their thousands to the town centre – long may it continue.”
The Cathedral Quarter in Derby was crowned the Best City Location, beating the Castle Arcade District in Norwich and Broadmead in Bristol, while Falmouth was named the Best Coastal Community.
Bridgnorth was named the Best Large Market Town and Hebden Bridge as the Best Small Market Town.
Hoole in Chester scooped the prize for Best Local Centre and Pateley Bridge for Best Village. Myddleton Road in Haringey received the accolade for Best in London. Stockton was identified as the Rising Star in the awards.
The winners in each category will share a prize pot worth £100,000, as well as expert training from Google’s digital taskforce for shops, bars and restaurants, and a trip to Twitter UK’s London office to boost their social media skills.
Bishy Road in York was crowned the overall winner in last year’s competition and has since reported a rise in sales as a result of increased footfall.