Half-a-million more visits to Northampton town centre in 2016 claims council survey
A report claims Northampton was visited an extra 500,000 times in 2016 compared to the previous year.
And the town saw a Christmas boom as the latest footfall report says Northampton had 60,000 more visits compared to December 2015.
Councillor Tim Hadland, Northampton Borough Council’s cabinet member for regeneration, enterprise and planning, said: “It’s heartening to see that people have demonstrated their willingness to visit Northampton town centre in ever-growing numbers, an opportunity businesses need to seize.”
The number of people visiting the town centre throughout December rose from 1,526,974 in 2015 to 1,566,315 last year.
Footfall across the entire 2016 calendar year was up to an even greater extent, from 15,302,236 in 2015 to 15,881,235.
Northampton Borough Council claims the December figures buck the national trend and that the rest of country saw a 1.4 per cent dip in shoppers in the same period, according to Ipsos Retail Performance, a consultancy firm.
Councillor Hadland welcomed the report and accredited the rise to new parking measures and business development by the council.
However leader of the opposition at the borough council, Danielle Stone, said she was surprised by the increase.
She said: “I find this claim quite surprising considering we’ve had a number of shops close this year, including Monsoon and, of course, the town’s BHS store.
“If the report is accurate then I’m not sure what would have led to it. It could be the availability of parking spaces or it could be more people visiting the town for leisure and to see the football.
“Obviously, it’s good news and an increase in people coming to the town will always be a positive.”
Councillor Hadland said the authority’s measures to improve trade in the town are working.
He said; “In the last few years we’ve pumped funding into street scene improvements, helped new start-ups and business developments, and introduced extended free parking.
“All of this is coming together to make our town a more vibrant, attractive place for shoppers to visit, with a genuinely unique niche offer not available elsewhere nearby.”
Use of multi-storey car parks also increased during December compared with the previous year – up from 229,933 tickets to 242,324 – indicating that shoppers are staying longer.