Corby has beaten Coventry and Milton Keynes to be named the UK’s greatest town.
The steel town was crowned the winner at the Academy of Urbanism Awards, held in London last night (Wednesday).
Leader of Corby Council Tom Beattie said: “We are delighted that Corby has been recognised out of the whole of the UK and Ireland as the Great Town 2018.
“It is real recognition of the vision, investment and partnership working that has gone in to regenerating our borough over recent years.
“Already since the beginning of 2000 we have built more than 6,000 new properties, including more than 600 affordable homes – 153 of which are council homes with more on the way.
“As well as new homes, we have also been improving the infrastructure of our borough which has resulted in achievements such as schools in Corby being built, rebuilt or significantly improved, our train station being enhanced by a new dual track and electrification that will increase journeys to and from the borough and our night-time economy going from strength to strength due to the investment in the town centre.
“It is all of these achievements, along with the amazing community that are at our borough’s core that make Corby such a great town.
“We have known it all along and we are very proud that it has now been made official.”
In its nomination, Corby was praised for its “phoenix-like” from post-industrial decay following the closure of the steelworks and the loss of 11,500 jobs in 1980.
Representatives from the awards said Corby was challenging old perceptions and creating a vibrant town with an impressive town centre.
David Rudlin, chairman of the academy, said: “Corby has achieved what many towns in the wider ripples of the ‘London effect’ hope to – a desirable, affordable, well-connected place to live and bring up a family, whether you are a commuter into London or working locally in one of the town’s many new businesses.
“Corby’s transition over the past decade is an excellent example of what can be achieved by creating a shared vision and, most importantly, seeing it through.”
As well as scooping the trophy, Corby will also be featured in the Academy of Urbanism’s forthcoming book and the following poem about the town was also composed by Ian McMillan.
By the time you finish reading these lines
Corby will have grown even more than before
And will have begun to burst spectacularly
Out of this poem and into tomorrow,
Swelling as it goes, like a sunrise fills the sky
And it could all have been so different, a tale
Of rust and neglect, but here is the station
Here are platforms for change, here is a cube
And here’s a Savoy, and here’s a long pool
The whole town can swim down, splashing
To a future that’s bright as steel, bright as hope,
Bright as the feeling this town expands into.