Larne gears up for Great British High Street judges

Alan Dorman, chairman of Larne Traders' Association.
Alan Dorman, chairman of Larne Traders' Association.

Larne is gearing up for the arrival of the Great British High Street judges to the town on October 10.

Environmental improvements in the town centre have been credited with helping Larne become a finalist.

These include street art, floral displays and “yarn bombing” as well as new paving, street lighting and furniture.

The judging panel will be Glyn Roberts, Colin Neill and Aodhan Connolly.

Glyn is chief executive, of Retail NI. He has also served as head of parliamentary affairs with the Federation of Small Businesses in Northern Ireland. He is also chair of Recycle NI.

Colin Neil, is the chief executive of Hospitality Ulster and a board member of Tourism Northern Ireland. Aodhan is director at Northern Ireland Retail Consortium.

Larne is one of three “Rising Stars” in Northern Ireland to be shortlisted. The others are Bow Street in Lisburn and Armagh city centre.

Each will be judged on community, customer experience, environment and digital transformation.

The judges score will make up 70 per cent of the high streets’ score with the remaining 30 per cent coming from social media support.

The Rising Star category recognises the nation’s most ambitious high streets which are taking the lead and working together to revive, adapt and diversity.

East Antrim MP Sammy Wilson has welcomed Larne’s success on reaching the Great British High Street Awards shortlist. Larne was one of 240 entries across the United Kingdom in the “Rising Star” category.

Mr. Wilson said: “I hope that the whole community will respond since I believe that it would be a fantastic achievement if, from across the United Kingdom, there was to be recognition of the excellent work which the council, the traders and other public bodies have put into to improving the shopping experience for people who live in the town and ensuring the vibrancy of our high street with the hundreds of jobs which are associated with the businesses which are located there.

“I would encourage people in Larne to use either Twitter, Facebook or Instagram, using #MyHighStreet or #GBHSLarne to register a vote for Larne.”