Ramsbottom fought off hundreds of entries to be placed in the top three in a national competition to find the country’s favourite high street.

The town centre was a joint runner-up in the high street of the Year contest, which was part of the Daily Telegraph’s Reinventing the High Street campaign.

Readers were invited to vote for their favourite high street, and the winner was Deal in Kent, while Leek in Staffordshire was also a joint-runner up.

The chairman of the judging panel, Local Government Minister Brandon Lewis, praised Ramsbottom for its achievement.

Writing on the newspaper’s website, Mr Lewis said: “All the judges commented on the vibrancy in second-placed Leek and their well-kept architecture; while in third place, Ramsbottom is embracing its history and local culture.”

The town has become a haven for tourism, with events such as the Ramsbottom Festival, the Chocolate festival as well as farmers markets and a range of independent traders.

Cllr Jane Lewis, Bury Council cabinet member for leisure, tourism and culture, said: “This is an amazing achievement, and will really help to put Ramsbottom on the map as a tourist destination.

“Huge credit must go to the local businesses in Ramsbottom who work so hard, often with the council, to promote the town.”

Ramsbottom councillor Ian Bevan added: “I think it is wonderful that the hard work that the traders, the business group and the council have put in has been recognised. It is helping Ramsbottom cement its place as a premier tourist destination.”

More than 500 nominations were received for the competition, and Ramsbottom was the only town centre in the North West to be nominated in the top 10.

Paul Morris, owner of the Chocolate Cafe and member of Ramsbottom Business Group, said: “This is great news for Ramsbottom and demonstrates how events and markets are key to the survival of our small towns.”

“A huge thank you must go to all customers who choose to support our local independent businesses on a regular basis.”