Chipping Norton has been lauded as the UK’s ‘frontrunner’ in the digitalisation of the high street by judges at the 2016 Great British High Street of the Year Awards.
Chippy was crowned runner-up in the Small Market Town category of the national competition which attracted more than 900 entries from across Britain.
The accolade follows last year’s success in reaching the GB High St finals and ECN Chairman Shaun Fagan’s Special Recognition Award for “outstanding services to the high street”.
“It’s a fantastic springboard to the launch of free town centre wi-fi and exciting new digital marketing tools for participating local businesses, both scheduled for 2017”, Shaun says.
What the judges said
The judges praised several aspects of Chipping Norton’s entry, which was spearheaded by ECN for the second time, at a special awards ceremony held at London’s Lancaster House on 12 December.
“Chipping Norton, forever known now as ‘Chippy’, are frontrunners from the judges’ perspective in the digitilisation of the high street”, GB High St judge Andy Torrance said on the day.
“They’ve been helping others, and mentoring other market towns in their area, by allowing them to replicate their model.
“They’ve shown very, very strong collaboration working with Oxfordshire LEP to mentor other towns, indeed creating their own version of Dragon’s Den, somewhat sinisterly known as the snake pit!”
Chipping Norton was singled out by judges in the 2015 awards for its “impressive and highly transferable digital platform” along with “the efficiency of their team, making apt use of investment, skill and resource to deliver outcomes”.
2016 GB High St results
Yorkshire’s Hebden Bridge won the Small Market Town category, with Chippy’s neighbour Thame taking third place.
Blackburn was crowned overall Champion and winner of the Local Centre category.
Chippy contestant and Tea Set employee, Imogen Haverty, narrowly missed out on the Under 25 Employee of the Year Award, despite winning the most votes in her category.
Tea Set owner Vicky Wills said: “We’re so proud of the fact she reached these prestigious national finals, and was the youngest GB High St contestant this year. She’s a great asset to our business and our customers love her!”
The double recognition of Imogen and ECN marks a rewarding end to the year.
And there’s plenty to look forward to in 2017.