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Falmouth: ‘Punching well above its weight’ at International Urbanism Awards

Entrepreneurialism and an innovative approach to Town Management put Falmouth in the spotlight at the prestigious 2013 Urbanism Awards in London on Friday 9th November.  Shortlisted for The Great Town award for the very first time, Falmouth was singled-out for its highly effective Town Team (the Falmouth BID and Falmouth Town Council) who work alongside many town partners, whose drive and professionalism was credited as an excellent example of good urban practice. 

Held annually, the Academy’s Urbanism Awards recognise the best, most improved or most enduring urban environments. In May 2012, The Academy of Urbanism shortlisted twelve UK and Irish and three continental European finalists for its Urbanism Awards, held at The Grand Connaught Rooms in Covent Garden, London. The finalists were selected on: Effective/Innovative Town Management, Evidence of Effective Partnerships and Evidence of Innovative Marketing and Approach to Town Centre Challenges.

Judges were particularly impressed with Falmouth’s ability to foster entrepreneurial partnerships to deliver projects, and the success of its year-round events programme, which has become one of the strongest in the South West, providing a significant impact on the town’s economy. Acknowledged for ‘punching well above its weight’, Falmouth was up against strong competition from Shrewsbury and the eventual winner, Galway.

 Kevin Murray, Chairman of The Academy of Urbanism, said:

“Falmouth presented a difficult challenge for Academicians when voting and narrowly missed out on the main prize. The Academy was particularly impressed with the way in which partnerships have formed within Falmouth to deliver results, and of the value that has been placed on investing in higher education.”

The Falmouth Town Team (private/public partnership between Falmouth BID and the Falmouth Town Council funded Falmouth Town Management) commented:

We’re delighted that the superb year-round events programme, proactive partnerships and the Falmouth Town Team approach have been commended at a national level. Over 50 towns across the UK and Ireland were long-listed, with Falmouth making it into the final three for the first time ever. We know it’s an incredibly challenging trading environment but this is further strong evidence that towns that invest in town teams provide a great visitor experience, while working together, can provide innovative solutions to current issues, and are the ones that buck trends. This is evident in Falmouth where we work hard to ensure we have one of the lowest vacant unit rates in England at 5.8% (national average is 14% +), the most comprehensive Festival programme in the county and a very active destination marketing campaign, to continually support our businesses and community.”    

About the selection process

  • Towns are nominated by individuals, companies or organisation
  • Over 50 towns made the long list
  • Any town with a population between 20-150,000 population are eligible from across the UK & Ireland
  • Academy of Urbanism – comprising 500 academics who are leading lights in urban design, thinking, planning and architecture from private and public sectors. They all are part of the decision making process.
  • Thorough decision making process whittled each category down to 20 and then a final 3
  • Judges visited Falmouth in the summer, a day co-ordinated by Richard Wilcox, Falmouth BID Manager and were hosted by the Richard Gates, Town Manager and Ruth Thomas Falmouth Town Council. A thorough report was written and circulated to all Academy Of Urbanism members for voting.

The winners in full were: The European City of the Year – Antwerp; The Great Town Award – Galway, Ireland; The Great Neighbourhood Award – Brixton, London; The Great Street Award – Hope Street, Liverpool; The Great Place Award – City Park, Bradford. For more information about The Academy of Urbanism, visit: www.academyofurbanism.org.uk