Costa supports the hunt for Britain’s best high street

Costa Coffee has joined the list of brands sponsoring The Great British High Street Competition. Until 1 September, towns, villages and cities around Britain can nominate their high street for one of seven award categories, which include best parade of shop and best London high street. In mid September, the public will have the chance to vote on 21 shortlisted areas. The winning community will share a $US78, 000 prize. “Community is at the heart of Costa’s values, that’s why we are calling on our customers and staff to support their local community and the wonderful work they do by getting involved with The Great British High Street Awards,” said Jim Slater, Managing Director of Costa UK. “The new ‘rising star’ category is a great way to reward a town that has transformed its fortune, giving it a boost for an even brighter future.” Costa joins Boots and Argos in the search, with Google on board to provide digital workshops to the top 100 retailers in each of the seven winning locations. The applications will be judged on Innovation; innovative schemes aimed at regeneration of the high street, Collaboration; how local people have been mobilised and engaged, Transition and Outcomes; how objectives have been met. The project is an initiative of the Future High Streets Forum, which brings together leaders across retail, property and business to drive forward new ideas and policies. Among other things, the forum advises the government on how to bring people back to live in town centers, increase footfall and support shops. A Local Data Company report released today claimed that the high street is already transforming from a pure shopping destination to a centre for leisure and services, with the Internet driving the change in the retail landscape. PriceWaterhouseCoopers, which commissioned the report, said there were more coffee shops, 3-star hotels and convenience stores on the high street than at the start of the year. The Future High Streets Forum has outlined a number of ways high streets need to adapt to the digital revolution in order to survive. Its recommendations include a range of targets for town centre infrastructure and connectivity for 2020, including broadband, mobile and Wifi access. The 2014 Winner of the London High Street was Kingston, Market Place. The 2015 winning high streets will be announced in October.

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