THE search is on to find the best town centre businesses in one of the region’s boroughs.

Entries are open for the first Stockton Town Centre Business Awards, organised by Stockton Borough Council.

The panel of judges includes North-East retail expert Christine Kavanagh, retail analyst Graham Soult, Stockton Borough Council leader Bob Cook and the council’s head of regeneration and economic development, Richard Poundford.

The judges will meet in September to choose the winners, who will be invited to an awards ceremony in Stockton Town Hall, on Friday, September 30.

Six awards are up for grabs and the winners will each receive £250.

The Consumers’ Town Centre Business of the Year award is voted for by the public.

Businesses are invited to enter five categories – Eatery of the Year, Independent Retailer of the Year, Market Trader of the Year, National Chain of the Year and Newcomer of the Year.

Councillor Cook said: “The Consumers’ Town Centre Business of the Year award is a great chance for residents to support their local shops, market traders and businesses and make sure they are recognised for going the extra mile and putting the customer first in all they do.”

Entry forms are available from libraries across the borough and can also be downloaded at