Norwich centre stage in high street award ceremony - but rail delays stop bosses from collecting award

St Benedicts Street at Norwich Lanes. Picture: Denise Bradley

St Benedicts Street at Norwich Lanes. Picture: Denise Bradley - Credit: Copyright: Archant 2012

Norwich was centre stage in Westminster as its shopping offer was hailed in a prestigious high street award - but train delays prevented city bosses from picking up the award.

Stefan Gurney, executive director of Norwich Business Improvement District and Jonty Young, marketing manager of Norwich Lanes, were due to be crowned winners of city category in the national Great British High Street competition. But delays to the train line meant they were unable to make it from the city to the capital.

Mr Gurney said: 'It is great to be recognised at a national level for all the things we are doing to change the perception of the city centre.'

He hailed its boutique and independent offer. He said that he had been disappointed they had been unable to represent Norwich because of the situation outside their control. High streets minister Penny Mordaunt, who presented all the categories and hailed Norwich at the event in the Houses of Parliament, said she was really impressed with how people have thrown down the gauntlet for the Great British High Street and shown what's possible on the nation's shopping streets. 'Communities, traders and businesses are absolutely fizzing with bright ideas and initiatives to make our high streets great places to work, shop and live,' she said.

The winners will receive a share of prize money and support from a fund worth £50,000 as well as dedicated support and mentoring from industry experts, sponsored by Boots, Costa Coffee, BIRA, Post Office and Marks and Spencer. This could range from one to one coaching or advice on creating business plans, to workshops on digital marketing. Judges said the enthusiasm and passion of the volunteer ambassadors, events for shoppers, and digital tools, such as the Droplet, a mobile payment service which allows people to buy goods on the high street using their smartphone, had caught their eye.

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