Today we had a visit from representatives of the Academy of Urbanism who were carrying out an assessment visit to inform their final decision on the winner of the Urbanism Award for the ‘Great Town’ category.

Belper are finalists for this award and are representing England, against competition from Caernarfon (Wales) and Stromness (Scotland).

The criteria on which we are being judged is;

  1. Leadership and Governance:Is the place well managed, inclusive, fair?
  2. Local Character: To what extent does the place provide a distinctive sense of place, identity and cultural resonance?
  3. Amenity:To what extent is the place an attractive, safe and enticing place for people to live, work, play, visit and enjoy?
  4. Commercial Success & Viability:To what extent does the place provide a conducive environment for wealth creation and distribution and is it able to support the maintenance and improvement of its urban environment?
  5. Environmental Sustainability:To what extent does the place exhibit and promote environmental sustainability?
  6. Community, Health and Wellbeing: To what extent does the place exhibit and promote civic behaviour, social cohesion, health and wellbeing?
  7. Connectivity:To what extent does the place provide transport and access options to an appropriate range of urban services?

The visit took place, starting at Reunion at 9.00 am, taking in King Street, Ada Belfield, Library, Derwent Street, Strutts Community Centre, Belper Mills, Belper River Gardens. The Triangle, Clusters, Railway Station, St John’s Chapel, Market Place, St Peter’s Church, Memorial Gardens and finally at 4.00 pm, the Ritz Cinema.

Thanks must be given to Belper Town Council, with particular mention to Cllr Ruth Bellamy who did a huge amount of work on producing the portfolio and Cllr Katie Harris and Dave Mcara (Belper Town Council Economic Development Officer) for their support with arrangements, also Officers and Councillors from Amber Valley Borough Council and Derbyshire County Council who have supported our bid for this prestigious award. A massive thank you also to Adrian Farmer for his input, knowledge and accompanying the visit.

In addition, there are far too many others to mention who have been amazing with their contributions (well over 60 people) – we thank you all for helping us showcase the wonderful place that is Belper.

Fingers crossed for the final result, but we believe that we are already winners – representing England against some great competition from the rest of the UK.