Forty percent say Northampton town centre is better place to trade compared to 2011...but 30 percent say it is worse, according to report

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Forty percent of firms in Northampton town centre say it is a better place to do business than it was four years ago, according to research by the business improvement district.

But 30 percent of shops and businesses say it is a worse place to trade compared to 2011.

The research came as part of the campaign by Northampton Town Centre Business Improvement District (BID) to get re-elected for a further five years.

The report states: “Despite the deep recession and a slow recovery, 40 percent of businesses in Northampton consider that the town centre has become a better place to do business over the last four years with 20 percent saying that it has stayed the same.

“Although this is encouraging, a third of the businesses still say that the town centre has become a worse place to do business,” the report added.

The majority of the firms surveyed said that they expected commercial performance to “increase moderately” in the next five years.

“When asked about their anticipated future trading performance there was a distinct level of confidence about their future in Northampton, with 58 percent of businesses saying that they anticipate a moderate increase in levels of commercial performance over the next fives and 12 percent saying that they anticipate significant growth,” the report stated.

Developing the town centre’s identity and branding to attract more visitors was the most important activity highlighted by 92 percent of the businesses as having the potential to make the most difference.

Twenty-one percent of those surveyed replied to an open-ended question about what would improve the town centre replied with improving the quality of the tenant mix for retail and leisure in the town centre.

Northampton BID was created in 2010 to promote and develop the town centre. Businesses within the BID’s area pay a levy which is then used on a number of different projects in the town.