Can ‘Capital of Cool’ Colne take Great British High St title?

Colne town centre.
Colne town centre.
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Colne, Pendle’s “Capital of Cool”, has made the finals of the Great British High Street Awards 2015.

Colne’s bid was submitted by the Town Centre Forum and it means Pendle has had a finalist two years running after Barnoldswick went on to win its category in 2014.

Colne has turned a corner and it’s nice to see that the town’s being recognised nationally

Coun. Ash Sutcliffe

Members of the forum and Colne Town Council, Coun. Ash Sutcliffe and Coun. Sarah Cockburn-Price, worked with Pendle Council’s Regeneration Officer, Paul Collins, Pendle Belle’s proprietor, Sandra Fernandez, and Pendle MP Andrew Stephenson to create a compelling entry for Colne, relying not just on text, but pictures, statistics, web links and video.

Colne will now battle it out with the two other finalists in the Market Town category which are Chipping Norton in Oxfordshire and Helmsley in North Yorkshire.

The town is also be up against the other 20 finalists across all seven categories to be crowned the overall title “Winner of Winners”.

Coun. Sutcliffe is the owner of the Live Like the Boy interiors shop, one of the many independent shops which has led Colne to being called the “Capital of Cool”.

He said: “It’s absolutely fantastic! It’s a credit to all the hard work people have put into Colne, including independent traders, Pendle Council and Colne Town Council.

“Colne has turned a corner and it’s nice to see that the town’s being recognised nationally.”

Barnoldswick Town Centre Action Group submitted a bid to defend the town’s crown, and although Barlick has missed out on the list of finalists, the town was in the top five of the Local Centre category and received a special mention from judges.

Coun. David Whipp said: “Barnoldswick has been named as one of the top five local centres in the country in this year’s competition, a category we won last year.

“It is fantastic news to be recognised again, and as that was being announced, I happened to be showing a group of town centre professionals around our vibrant town centre and introduced them to several of our many excellent business owners.

“Later this month we are due to be visited by an international TV crew wanting to film our lovely town over a couple of days.

“We’ll also be finding out very soon if Barnoldswick has managed to secure a prestigious Royal Horticultural Society Gold Medal in RHS Britain in Bloom. Not bad for little old Barlick!”

Marcus Jones MP, Minister for local government, said: “We received over 230 applications for this year’s awards and the standards were extremely high, so just getting through to the final is a huge achievement.”

Great British High Street judges will visit Colne sometime in November and the Town Council’s Events Committee, which is chaired by Coun. Sutcliffe, will discuss how best to impress them at its next meeting on Monday.

This year, for the first time, the public has the chance to vote online for their best-loved high street.

Votes can be cast via thegreatbritishhighstreet.co.uk or on Facebook and Coun. Sutcliffe has urged proud Colners to get voting.

Votes can be cast daily from each individual email address and if the town wins, Colne will get a share of £80,000 cash and expert training and tips from Google’s online task force to support shops, bars and restaurants in the town.

Sandra Fernandez from Pendle Belles, a vintage shop near the Town Hall, said: “So many people come into my shop and feel the same way as I do about Colne.

“Let’s do something for the town we love and vote for Colne to win!”

And Coun. Cockburn-Price said: “I’d like to thank Paul Collins who brought everything together and made the suggestion that we enter in the first place.

“We were very proud of the final submission, but we knew that the competition would be stiff, and so we are absolutely over the moon that we have reached the final!”