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Has Your High Street Got What It Takes?

Today marks the beginning of the 2019 search for Scotland’s Most Beautiful High Street.

For three years running we’ve partnered with the national body for town centres, the Scottish Towns Partnership, to search for beautiful and inspiring high streets throughout Scotland.

Employing a broad interpretation of the term ‘beautiful,’ entrants are judged on factors including horticultural achievement, environmental responsibility and community participation.

Chief Officer of Scotland’s Towns Partnership, Phil Prentice, emphasised the value of our high streets: “They are the beating hearts of communities and local economies, and each has its unique identity and experience to offer for both residents and visitors. We want to celebrate the contribution of our high streets and recognise the efforts made to make these spaces clean, attractive, accessible, vibrant and inclusive for all to enjoy."

“Although some of our high streets have faced challenges in light of the growth of online retail, the spirit of reinvention is very much alive. Some towns have totally reinvented themselves – Wigtown as the Book Town, West Kilbride as the Craft Town, Kirkcudbright as the Art Town, Oban for Seafood, Dunoon and Fort William as outdoor leisure specialists. Towns like Inverurie, Prestwick, Gourock and Kilmalcolm are all beginning to see a strong rise in the growth of independent and high quality local niche retail.”

We shortlist the entries alongside Scottish Towns Partnership before the public get the chance to vote online for their favourites.

Our brilliant 2018 winner was Aberdeenshire town Turriff. Submitted by the Turiff Business Association, their entry highlighted the town’s numerous heritage sites, horticultural beauty, and community initiatives, including the emblematic ‘Turra Coo’ sculpture.

Marj Chalmers, Chair of Turriff Business Association, encouraged towns to take part, stating: “Entering and winning the title of Scotland's Most Beautiful High Street last year was a great honour for us. Winning overall was fantastic and a great boost for Turriff. I would encourage anybody to take part as it greatly benefited us."

“We had lots of press coverage and also television news coverage with STV news visiting Turriff and doing a report. The footfall was increased greatly and it certainly put Turriff on the map with the businesses in Turriff benefiting from the extra trade."

“The award that I and my colleague Rose Logan collected from the Parliament building in Edinburgh was proudly displayed around Turriff in members premises a week at a time and finally now has pride of place in our Library. It was fantastic we won and was a big thank you to all the groups involved that keep Turriff spotless and beautiful with hanging baskets, litter collection etc”.

We encourage authorities, business improvement districts, development trusts, community councils and any other individual or local organisation to get involved and emphasise the vital presence of high streets in our community spaces.

Our Chief Executive, Derek Robertson, said: “We know that good quality environments are good for business and good for local people. It’s inspiring to see so many communities and businesses across Scotland working together to improve the places they live and work in."

“For over half a decade we have helped communities and local authorities improve the places they care for, through our Beautiful Scotland competition. This opportunity to recognise the most beautiful high street in the country will be a great celebration of those who are working together to ensure we can enjoy cleaner, greener and more sustainable places which help businesses and communities thrive."

To find out more and how to apply, please visit the Scottish Towns Partnership website. Deadline for entries is Monday 30 September 2019. The winner will be announced during Scotland’s Towns Week in November.

08 July 2019

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