A THRIVING Cotswold town is celebrating its growth over the past year by setting its sights on winning the newly launched Great British High Street Awards.

Launched last month by the Department for Communities and Local Government, the awards aim to find and celebrate the best high streets in the country.

And, with a raft of new shops opening over the past year including children’s clothes shop Kidz n Thingz and the Cotswold Tailor, traders in Shipston believe they may be in with a chance of success.

The Shipston Promotion Group, which was set up to run the successful Shipston Loyalty Card scheme, is submitting an application for the awards on behalf of the town square.

The group is hoping its entry into the Market Towns category will be strengthened by the Shipston Loyalty Card, which was set up two years ago and now has more than 2,000 people signed up.

Funded in part by Operation Footfall, it offers loyalty discounts as well as news about latest offers.

And with the town’s annual events, including the Wool Fair, Shipston Proms, the Food Festival and Shipston Rotary Victorian Evening, they are hoping the town stands a good chance of winning.

Kate King, administrator of Shipston Promotion Group and owner of Ivy Heart, said: “We are extremely fortunate in Shipston to have a vibrant town centre which is well supported by shoppers.

“An impressive number of volunteers also give their time to organise special events which help put our town on the map.

“We are really excited to be entering the Great British High Street Awards and hope the whole community will get behind the scheme by endorsing our application and sharing what they love about Shipston’s town centre.

”In the past year, Shipston has seen significant growth in new retail outlets and cafes with 95 per cent of available units now occupied in the town centre.

Shipston’s Mayor Councillor Philip Vial believes the town stands a good chance of success.

“I hope we’re going to win it but regardless if we do, it’s a wonderful position to be in and a place where we feel confident enough to enter.

“The traders are really proud of the work they are doing in the town centre,” he said.

“We’ve had a number of new openings in the town, I think it just goes to show how vibrant Shipston has become.”

Once the entry has been submitted, the town will be calling on members of the public to get behind their entry and support the town centre with category winners announced in September.

The awards will be promoted through the Shipston Loyalty Card Facebook Page and the twitter feed @ShipstonCard using the hashtag #GBHighSt.