Irish town named the best in Britain and Ireland thanks to its strong sense of local pride

Irish town named the best in Britain and Ireland thanks to its strong sense of local pride

CLONAKILTY in Co. Cork has been voted the best town in Britain and Ireland.

The West Cork town received the honour at the 2017 Urbanism Awards Ceremony in London.

Clonakilty beat off over 40 other towns across Britain and Ireland to claim the Great Town Award.

The seaside town of Blackpool and the picturesque West Yorkshire market town of Todmorden came in second and third place respectively.

The honour is given out annually by the Academy of Urbanism, which includes leading architects, planners and developers from across Europe.

Judges were particularly impressed by the town’s main street with its bespoke paving and street seating, along with the redevelopment of its Emmett Square.

The town was also praised for its ‘Clonbike’ community cycling scheme.

The judges said: “The quality of the town centre and the town’s location close to the sea and beautiful beaches make it an attractive place to live, do business and visit.

“Clonakilty is a good example of those three elements coming together in a sustainable way that celebrates local distinctiveness, tradition, entrepreneurialism and a strong sense of local pride”.

Steven Bee, chair of the Academy of Urbanism, said: “Clonakilty has a distinctive physical character derived from its setting and its Georgian and Victorian heritage.

“This was disturbed by traffic management in the mid-twentieth century, but is now being recovered, with significant social and economic benefits.

“The role of the Town Architect and Town Mayor in encouraging participation in the planning, and implementation of improvements have been key. Refreshed open spaces and improved links have restored the town’s character and pride, and stimulated tourism”.

Clonakilty wasn’t the only Irish winner of the evening, with Waterford being awarded the Great Place Award for its historic Viking Triangle.

Other winners included Copenhagen, which picked up the European City of the Year Award, Bristol’s Ashley Vale which won The Great Neighbourhood Award; and Wood Street in Walthamstow, London which scooped The Great Street Award.

Here are the other award winners:

The European City of the Year

Winner: Copenhagen, Denmark
Eindhoven, Netherlands
Montpellier, France

The Great Town

Blackpool, Lancashire
Winner: Clonakilty, County Cork
Todmorden, West Yorkshire

The Great Neighbourhood

Winner: Ashley Vale, Bristol
Newhall, Harlow
Ouseburn, Newcastle

The Great Street

Lark Lane, Liverpool
Newry Street, Banbridge
Winner: Wood Street, Walthamstow

The Great Place

Greenwich Market, London
Leicester Market, Leicester
Winner: Viking Triangle, Waterford