BURY is one of three areas in the UK battling it out to win a prestigious tourism award.

The town is one of three finalists hoping to bag the Great Town Award, run by the Academy of Urbanism in London.

Also in the running are Beverley, in Yorkshire, and Aberystwyth in Wales, with the champion to be announced in November.

The annual awards recognise areas which have improved their economic, social and physical environment through forward planning and joint developments.

Cllr Mike Connolly, leader of Bury Council, said investment in Bury town centre had “dramatically transformed” the town into a major attraction. He said: “We are extremely proud that Bury has been shortlisted for this award.

“Despite the recent economic downturn, Bury has enjoyed significant investment and development which has dramatically transformed the town into a major attraction for residents and visitors alike and a significant reason for borough’s wider economic strength.”

Assessors recently were given a tour of some of the town’s top attractions including The Met, Bury Market, Fusilier Museum, Bury Art Museum and Sculpture Centre, East Lancashire Railway and Bury Transport Museum.

Officers also showed off recent developments at Townside, the Mill Gate centre and The Rock before visiting sites due to be developed in the future and meeting business owners.

Cllr Connolly added: “The growth of the town has not happened by chance.

“It is the result of good planning and co-operation between the public and private sector, the local community and partners.

“The result is a town centre that is unique, vibrant and distinctive and that offers a wide range of attractions and facilities in a pleasant, compact and accessible area.

“We do not intend to stand still, but will continue to work as hard as we have done to ensure that Bury continues to improve and evolve.”