Scarborough are champions of Europe: COMMENT ON THIS STORY

IN A sensational and dramatic triumph, Scarborough was last night crowned the champions of Europe as the most enterprising town among 25 nations.

The prestigious and historic accolade by the European Commission was made in the impressive heavily-chandeliered grand hall of the Zofin Palace in Prague shortly before midnight.

The award was the final announcement of the evening, with other winners including Sweden and Spain.

But it was Scarborough which clinched the top slot to cheers from the packed crowd of nearly 400 people from two dozen countries.

Gunter Verheugen, the European Commission vice-president, presided over the ceremony and said: "There were 350 entries at national level with 47 countries represented at European level. They are a model for others."

He added, before Scarborough councillor and former mayor Derek Bastiman took to the red-carpeted stage to receive a huge glass trophy: "The event is to exchange best practice and to learn from each other."

Scarborough regeneration efforts of recent years was showcased as an

example for other countries to adopt, particularly in the way in which the council had encouraged and triggered renaissance developments by building business and networking partnerships.

Scarborough impressed the Enterprising Britain judges with the town's Renaissance Project, including the 4.8million Woodend Creative Workspace, the new harbour pontoons project, and the Rotunda, which recently underwent a 4.4 million facelift.

The Scarborough presentation showed that, with help also from renaissance projects including the Sands in North Bay and the revamped Star Map in South Bay, seaside towns could succeed despite the loss of traditional industries and fishing.

The town was given the Grand Jury award as the overall winner, beating stiff competition from countries including Spain, Belgium, France, Germany and Sweden.

Scarborough had already been judged the regional and UK winner for enterprising transformation, and was representing the country at the European finals in the Czech republic yesterday evening.

"I am so proud for Scarborough," said Cllr Bastiman in receiving the award at the 19th century palace on an island in the historic city of Prague.

With him was John Burroughs, representing Scarborough Borough Council's regeneration projects, Cllr Derek Bastiman, the council's regeneration representative, Nick Taylor, urban renaissance manager, David Archer, strategic director, and Andrew Clay, director of the new Woodend creative centre, which was part of the successful submission.

Cllr Bastiman added to the audience of hundreds of European-wide delegates: "I am immensely proud of my town, where I have lived all my life. It is a place very dear to my heart. It is a town I would encourage you all to visit. So many people have contributed to this success."

He named the colleagues who undertook the trip for the awards, which were part of the first European-wide recognition week for small and medium-sized enterprises.

Among the first people to give reaction were Robert Goodwill MP who said: "Congratulations are due to all those concerned. It's a magnificent success. Scarborough is well and truly on the European map."

Peter Wilkinson, of the renaissance and town teams, added: "This is a defining moment in history. It's almost unbelievable. It shows the fruits of partnership between public and private sectors."

Mr Archer said: "This is the best accolade that Scarborough could be given. It is the culmination of years of vision, planning and hard work."

Cllr Tom Fox, council leader, said: "I am thrilled and delighted at this news, and I personally would like to congratulate all those concerned in achieving this marvellous result."

Plus, see the details on: