Tottenham has been crowned one of the country’s “rising stars” as part of a competition to find the best high streets in Britain.
The gritty north London suburb, which has been trying to shake off its recent history of violence and riots, was one of 10 high streets that came runner-up after missing out on being named one of the 21 finalists last week.
Dartmouth in South Devon, Thame High Street in Oxford and the port town of Folkestone in Kent were also awarded the rising star award and £1000 cash after "great strides made in improving their local high street" the department for Communities and Local Government, which runs the competition, said.
The Great British High Street Competition – sponsored by retailers including Boots, Marks & Spencer and Tesco – is now in its second year after being set up to help champion UK high streets, which are battling with falling visitor numbers and the rise of online shopping.
They were judged by a panel of “industry leaders” from across retail, property and business and assessed according to several criteria including “innovation, collaboration and efforts to improve their community”.
Roman Road near Victoria Park, Raynes Park and Pitshanger Lane in Ealing are among the three London finalists.
“We had a record amount of high-quality entries to this year’s competition – testament to the pride local people have and brilliant work being done to boost Britain’s high streets,” high streets minister Marcus Jones said.
“The local high street is the life and soul of many towns, villages and cities across the country and these awards are a great opportunity to not only celebrate those that are the best of the best, but also to help others learn their valuable tips for success.”
In more good news for the high street, figures out today show that the number of empty shops has dropped to its lowest level for more than five years.
The shop vacancy rate fell to 12.9 per cent in September, the lowest since April 2010, the Local Data Company said.
However the vacancy rate for leisure outlets including restaurants, bars and betting shops edged up from 8.13 per cent in August to 8.16 per cent in September.
LDC director Matthew Hopkinson, said: “There are a number of reasons for this and these will vary by specific location but ultimately consumers have more money in their pockets as a result of wages being higher than inflation, employment levels are improving and there is greater focus on the living wage as well as zero hours contracts.”