Clonakilty wins best town in UK and Ireland at Urbanism Awards

Representatives from Clonakilty accepting the award at the ceremony in London. Pic: Academy of Urbanism via Twitter

CLONAKILTY in West Cork has been voted as the best town in the UK and Ireland at the 2017 Urbanism Awards Ceremony, beating off over 40 other towns along the way.

The award is one of five given out annually by built-environment network The Academy of Urbanism to recognise the best, most enduring or most improved urban environments. Voted on by its members, who include leading architects, planners and developers, each award covers a number of social, economic and environmental factors, including good governance and commercial success.

The market town of Clonakilty in County Cork has won this year’s Great Town Award. The quality of the design and maintenance of the public realm in Clonakilty is exemplary; particularly the main street with its bespoke paving features and street seating, and also the reclaim and redesign of Emmett Square, which has been done to a very high standard. The town was also credited for its volunteered and sponsored Clonbike scheme and its town architect in the community model.

The assessment team of the Great Town Award noted “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” The assessors also credited the town for being particularly welcoming and embracing new ideas and concept wholeheartedly.

Steven Bee, chair of the Academy 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”.

The other winners were: Copenhagen, which scooped the European City of the Year award; Ashley Vale, Bristol which won The Great Neighbourhood Award; Wood Street in Walthamstow, London which picked up The Great Street Award; and Waterford’s Viking Triangle won The Great Place Award.

Listen to Clonakilty local councillor Christopher O’Sullivan discuss the win with Patricia Messenger on C103’s Cork Today programme:

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