Shopping development and pedestrianisation schemes in the town centre won the main prize presented at the British Council of Shopping Centres (BCSC) annual conference last week .
Blackburn's Cathedral Quarter took the design award, with Middlesbrough's Corporation Road project earning a commendation in the same category.
Thirty towns and cities across the UK entered the competition, organised by the BCSC to highlight work by the government, civic bodies, communities, town centre management teams and landlords on revamping centres.
Staines scooped the main award for what judges called a "metamorphosis" from an uninviting square into a shopping and business centre with about 35,000 sq m of shops, a leisure quarter and markets.
"This was brought about by the delivery of a planning vision that places the high street at the heart of the town and lets pedestrians breathe new life into the centre," the judges commented.
Blackburn's Cathedral Quarter was praised as a "safe, pleasant and convenient thoroughfare that serves to unify the centre and encourage walking". Middlesbrough's Corporation Road project has addressed a "serious impediment to the town's cohesion", according to the panel.