BUSINESSES are being called upon to give high streets a huge boost.
Portsmouth MP Penny Mordaunt has launched a contest to find the UK’s best shopping destination – and wants local ones getting involved.
The competition is open to traders’ associations and ‘town teams’ dedicated to improving the places where people meet.
The winning high street will get a slice of a £50,000 prize and get support from industry experts on how to grow and improve what they offer.
Ms Mordaunt, who is the government’s high streets minister, said: ‘In Portsmouth, we have got a massive variety of high streets. People really value them. They are almost like mini-villages linked together.
‘They provide more than just a place to pick up goods. They are a social space for people to go and have coffee, and elderly people in particular enjoy going and socialising.’
Local entries already submitted include Palmerston Road, in Southsea, Cosham High Street and Albert Road, in Southsea.
Tony Broome, of Shoefix, in Cosham, said: ‘There are lots of independent shops here where you get to know the customers, and they get to know you the shop owner, rather than a shopping centre where it’s more impersonal.’
Council leaders are also backing the scheme,
Leader of Havant Borough Council, Cllr Michael Cheshire, said: ‘I believe people have a town centre that is now much better and cleaner due to our zero-tolerance litter policy.
‘The community is well-served and we provide our residents with a choice of commodities to purchase and enjoy.’
Sean Woodward, leader of Fareham Borough Council, said high streets help the community.
He said: ‘We have started many projects to help residents, like taking away parking charges on Thursday nights in order to help the shoppers save money.
‘We even have future plans for a possible town a wi-fi network to benefit people in the area.’
High streets can be entered into six categories representing where they are; city centre, town centre, market town, coastal community, local shopping centre or parade of shops, and village. To enter, visit thegreatbritishhighstreet.co.uk