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Colwyn Bay named as Greatest Coastal High Street of the Year

13th November 2014

Categories: News

Following submissions from more than 135 towns across the country, Colwyn Bay has been announced as the winner of the coastal category of the Government’s 2014 Great British High Street Award.

Colwyn Bay beat off challenges from Blyth, Northumberland and Folkestone to win the category and was the only Welsh town to be among the 21 shortlisted towns.

Comments from the judges summarised that Colwyn Bay’s thriving town centre is a fantastic example of a high street, which is looking to the future whilst embracing its heritage.

The judges were particularly impressed with the Town Team’s collaboration with Colwyn Bay Townscape Heritage Initiative to regenerate and enhance the nineteenth century distinctiveness of Colwyn Bay.

They also commented on the initiatives underway including the recreation of a beach, which was part of sea defences, which is attracting tourists and the town’s packed events calendar to bring people back to the town centre.

The work ongoing as a result of the Bay Life Regeneration Programme, which is managed by Conwy County Borough Council, is delivering a range of projects totalling an investment of £52m and is having a real impact.

Footfall in the town has risen by 30 per cent and since 2012, 52 new shops have opened and 22 businesses have expanded or refurbished. Further investment totalling an additional £77m is expected to take place over the next three years.

Councillor Chris Hughes, Cabinet Member for Communities, said: “We are delighted and honoured that Colwyn Bay has been awarded this accolade. The Bay Life Programme, the Town Team and partners have been working tirelessly over the past few years as part of a regeneration programme to change the fortunes of Colwyn Bay and this is recognition of everyone’s efforts.

Ingrid Lewis, Town Centre Manager, said “More than £50m of investment has been injected into the town through a series of initiatives and there is still much to come. A huge challenge for us has been telling the town’s story to a wider audience in order to attract further investment. This endorsement is invaluable to us, not to mention the mentoring and expert advice we will receive. A massive thanks to all who supported us in our entry.”

Martin Blackwell, Former Chief Executive of the Association of Town and City Management, one of this year’s judges, said: “With over 20 years experience in place management, and being a former Town Centre Manage myself, I am still astonished by the passion, dedication and ingenuity shown by people who just love the job they do and place they live or work in.

“Without these individuals these projects would never have got off the ground. That we had so many entries, into what is a new competition, was amazing. The fact that the judging was so difficult is a testament to the way in which businesses, local government and the consumer have really embraced the idea of supporting their High Street. It was a privilege to go out and meet so many inspiring people.”

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