THIS is the proud moment a community got its hands on a prestigious trophy, crowning an Alnwick street as the best in Britain.
The town’s Bondgate Within fought off stiff competition in the Google Street View Awards to take the title of Britain’s Best Shopping Street.
It was named in a shortlist of 20 nominations drawn up by a panel of experts from the world of shopping, travel and lifestyle, including Visit Britain and Lonely Planet, as well as a host of celebrities and leading journalists.
But despite going up against other prestigious high streets, the historic thoroughfare – with its medieval tower at its southern end – topped the public vote.
It beat Market Place in Kingston-upon-Thames, Low Pavement in Nottingham, Lisburn Road in Belfast and The Promenade at Cheltenham in the final five, based on its mixture of national names and small independent retailers, not to mention its ambience.
Alan Symmonds, Mayor of Alnwick, hailed the success.
He said: “I am delighted that Bondgate Within in our town of Alnwick has won the prestigious Google Street View Awards for 2011 for best shopping street. Bondgate Within more than holds its own in the formidable list of nominees.
“As you enter the street through the ancient Hotspur Tower, there is a historic panorama in which there is a wide range of shops and services that cater for both residents and visitors. The street is characterised by a large number of individual shops, many of which are well-established family businesses and all of which pride themselves on offering a personal service to their customers. This award follows other awards for Alnwick and confirms that it is a wonderful place in which to live and a fantastic centre for tourists.”
Carlo Biagioni, chairman of Alnwick Chamber of Trade, said he was delighted at the news and praised the shopkeepers for their hard work and their dedication to giving an ‘outstanding’ customer service.
“This important award gives us the opportunity to present Alnwick further. I think it will be a fantastic marketing tool to use for any future promotion and advertisements,” he said.
Every shop in Alnwick will be encouraged to display the trophy for a week at a time, and then a permanent home will be found for the accolade.
Bondgate Within was nominated by David Else, lead author of The Lonely Planet Guide to Great Britain, and in its winner’s citation, Google described it as ‘the ideal shopping street, with its perfect blend of independent shops as well as on-trend high street stores, selling everything the discerning shopper could ever hope for’.
It won praise for its mixture of family-run shops and latest fashion stores, and the ‘real sense of history’ it offered.
Front Street in Bamburgh was voted second most romantic street, losing to Copse Hill Road, in Lower Slaughter, Gloucestshire.