Aberystwyth officially named ‘greatest town’ in the UK

ABERYSTWYTH recently saw off competition at the prestigious Academy of Urbanism Awards to be officially crowned the ‘greatest town’ in the United Kingdom. The awards ceremony, which took place in London, covered five categories, including European City of the Year and Great Town, Neighbourhood, Street and Place.

Described by the Academy as “a modest town that punches above its weight”, Aberystwyth pipped English rivals Beverley (Yorkshire) and Bury (Lancashire) to win the award. This was primarily due to its leading work in promoting its location, economy and livability.

Academy of Urbanism

Academy of Urbanism

According to the Academy the key to the result swinging in Aberystwyth’s favour was the “attitude judges encountered towards creating and sustaining local partnerships, exemplified by the town’s response to the storms that devastated the seafront at the beginning of 2014”.

Tim Challans, lead assessor for the great town award, said: “The town’s resilience in recovering from the winter storms demonstrates how its people are passionate about their home.”

The five stage process by which the award was judged, started with the nominations stage where any member of the public could contribute. The Academy then shortlisted 50 places across five categories, which were then voted down to three finalists in each category by Academy members. They then visited and assessed each of the 15 finalists before the final vote.

The ceremony was attended by Aberystwyth Town Cllrs Brenda Haines, mayor of Aberystwyth, and Wendy Morris, immediate past mayor, Cllr Ellen ap Gwynn, Leader of Ceredigion County Council, and Allan Lewis, Ceredigion’s head of economic and community development.

Cllr Haines was presented with the award which was a framed copy of a poem “Aberystwyth” by Ian McMillan, Poet in Residence at the Academy of Urbanism. She said: “It is absolutely brilliant for Aberystwyth to be recognised in this way – the people of Aberystwyth can be very proud.”