Is this Britain's most up-and-coming high street?
PUBLISHED: 14:15 14 August 2019
© SWNS/ VISA
An Essex high street is in the running for up to £15k in cash after being shortlisted in a national awards.
Up-and-coming Sir Isaacs Walk in Colchester was praised by the government's high streets minister Jake Berry MP for the growing vibrancy of its night life and plans to introduce a 'hyperlocal' cryptocurrency.
It is vying against contenders across the country in the Rising Star category at the Great British High Street Awards 2019.
"The South Lanes Project is transforming Colchester's lanes into a vibrant social and commercial hub on Thursday nights, and there are even plans forming to introduce a 'hyperlocal' cryptocurrency," said Mr Berry.
"People are happier when they can see their hard-earned cash support local businesses. That is why we are celebrating those that go above and beyond to keep their high streets thriving for generations to come."
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Winners of the awards are set to be announced in November, with up to £15,000 awarded to successful high streets.
The Colchester entry was shortlisted for the awards following a rigorous selection process led by a panel of independent judges, awards organisers said.
The Rising Star category celebrates high streets which are taking the lead to adapt and diversify.
The bid by South Lanes Project follows research commissioned by Visa in April 2019 demonstrating the positive impact high streets have on communities.
Research by awards sponsors Visa found that two thirds of consumers (66%) in the East of England say that shopping locally makes them feel happy, with nearly half (45%) citing supporting local shops and knowing where their money is going as the main reason.
Spending time with friends and family (23%) and offering a sense of community (18%) were other reasons cited for why high streets make people feel happier. The research also reveals that nearly half of consumers (45%) feel that their high street gives them a sense of pride in their local community.
Visa's Sundeep Kaur said they had seen some "fantastic" entries. "In particular, the desire to innovate stands out amongst this year's entries, with high streets adapting to the challenges presented by a rapidly changing retail environment to find ways to thrive at a local level," she said.