Town narrowly misses out on award

View of Halifax from Beacon Hill
View of Halifax from Beacon Hill

Halifax narrowly missed out on being named the best town in the UK.

The title, part of the Urbanism Awards, was taken by Frome in Somerset.

It is one of five awards given out annually by built-environment network the Academy of Urbanism to recognise the best, most enduring or most improved urban environments.

Voted on by its members, who include leading architects, planners and developers, each award covers a number of social, economic and environmental factors, including good governance and commercial success.

The academy reported that in an effort to capitalise on its rich industrial heritage, Halifax has undertaken redevelopment with major historic building complexes, reusing them for cultural, commercial and public purposes.

It also noted the council’s “clear-cut vision”, which it said was paying dividends with many choosing to stay in the town rather than relocate.

Tim Challans, lead assessor of the Great Town Award, said: “We are impressed by how Halifax has shed its former industrial image to become a lively and prosperous town through good governance and imaginative public, private and community partnerships, putting it in a key position in the Northern Powerhouse”. Steven Bee, chairman of the academy, said: “Halifax is a great example of the original Northern Powerhouse. The best of its industrial and civic heritage is being intelligently adapted to modern business and cultural purposes.

“The worst has been cleared to make way for some innovative commercial and educational attractions. The York stone on which it stands remains a distinctive feature of its public realm.”

“Our finalists, this year as every previous year, are places that offer evidence of how great places evolve from the efforts of their citizens, institutions and enterprises.

The Academy of Urbanism celebrates the achievements of our 15 finalists and the lessons they offer to other places seeking to emulate their success.”

The other winners were: San Sebastian, which scooped the European City of the Year Award, Old Town, Hastings, which won The Great Neighbourhood Award, Oliver Plunkett Street, which picked up The Great Street Award, and Peace Bridge/Ebrington Square, which won the Great Place Award.