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Launch of Great British High Street competition 2016

Eddisbury MP, Antoinette Sandbach is calling on local community leaders and traders to nominate candidates for the Great British High Street competition 2016.
�€� Last year's competition had 230 entries and over 200,000 public votes
�€� This year's competition will be "bigger and better"
�€� Investment in the high street is up by 30% and the national vacancy rate has fallen to its lowest level since January 2009
Now in its 3rd year, the competition celebrates the great work that is being done to revive and diversify the nation's high streets and is an opportunity for councils, businesses, community groups and volunteers to learn from the very best.

Last year's competition saw a record-breaking 230 entries and attracted over 200,000 public votes, with Bishy Road in York, a former finalist, crowned Britain's best.
With new categories, new prizes, including the chance to win up to £ 10,000 each, the MP for Eddisbury said she expected to see even more competition entries from Eddisbury this year.

Ms Sandbach said:
"Across Eddisbury we have some thriving high streets and some that face great challenges, but all have outstanding features, and enthusiastic, local people dedicated to making them the best that they can be. Our High Streets support many jobs and I want to celebrate the hard work being done across Eddisbury and I urge our local high streets to apply."

High Streets Minister, Marcus Jones said:
"With a record number of entries and 200,000 public votes cast, last year's competition was a massive success.
"This year's Great British High Streets Competition is going to be even bigger and better, with new categories and a simplified entry form.
"I'd urge everyone to get involved to showcase the hard work of your community, in keeping high streets the life and soul of our towns, villages and cities."

The Government is helping local business communities adapt to the changing face of high streets, with a £6.7 billion package of business rates support to cut the rates for 900,000 businesses -- with 600,000 now paying none at all.
Investment in the high street is up by 30%, the national vacancy rate has fallen to its lowest level since January 2009 and retail sales have increased year-on-year for the longest period on record.

The nine competition categories for places are:
�€� Best City Centre High Street
�€� Best Town Centre High Street
�€� Best Market Town High Street (small)
�€� Best Market Town High Street (large)
�€� Best Coastal Community High Street
�€� Best Village High Street
�€� Best Local Centre -- precinct or parade of shops
�€� Best London High Street
�€� Rising Star -- to recognise towns who are turning fortunes around
The four competition categories for individuals are:
�€� Best Store Manager or Employee from a National Retailer / Organisation
�€� Best Store Manager or Employee from an Independent / Small Business
�€� Best Market Manager, Operator, Farmer or Trader
�€� Best under 25 year old, manager or employee from a high street business

Nominations are now open across England, Wales and Scotland. The top 3 shortlisted in each category will be announced in October. They will then go through to a public online vote and be visited by the Future High Streets Forum judging panel made up of industry leaders from across retail, property and business.
Details of how to enter the competition can be found at: www.thegreatbritishhighstreet.co.uk
The deadline for entries is Friday, 9 September 2016