Local retailers and community stalwarts in Malmesbury are celebrating after narrowly missing out on the top spot in The Telegraph’s High Street of the Year Awards.
The Wiltshire town lost to Deal in Kent, but the panel of expert judges placed Malmesbury in the top ten against 500 other high streets across the country.
Aimee Frankham, chairman of the town’s Chamber of Commerce, said: “I think it is absolutely fantastic. It’s great that Malmesbury has been given recognition for all the hard work the individual retailers put in.
“I think with all the work that Malmesbury has done, with the benchmarking process, neighbourhood surveys, and the setting up of the town team, that there is a lot of evidence of the hard work that people do here.”
The judges included Amanda Callaghan, corporate affairs director at the British Retail Consortium; Bill Grimsey, former CEO of Focus, Wickes and Iceland; and the minister for high streets, Brandon Lewis MP.
Other areas shortlisted included Bridport, Dorset; Bury St Edmonds, Suffolk; Cambridge (Mill Road); Sherborne, Dorset; Teddington, Middlesex; and Yarm, Teesside. The awards did not reveal where in the top ten each town came.
Town and county councillor Simon Killane said: “I think it’s great that an award of the best and most pro- active towns shows Malmesbury in the top ten.
“I spoke to them about Malmesbury and they were very impressed with the neighbourhood plan and the town team and the way we were working with the issues and problems associated with new developments.”
Coun Kim Power, who with Coun Killane, nominated the town, said: “The future of the high street is very positive, especially with the town team being formed. I’m very pleased; it’s a huge achievement to get in the top ten.”
Mayor John Gundry said: “Deal is six times the size of Malmesbury. The judges seem to be interested in the number of independent retailers, which is something we are very keen to promote.”