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Vibrant town centre sees footfall increase

Posted onPosted on 7th Dec

Retailers and businesses have noticed a substantial increase in footfall and business vitality in Newark town centre due to activities funded by the Welcome Back Fund — according to the district council.

Footfall sensors in Newark have recorded an increase of 116% since July, with 146,700 visitors recorded as visiting Newark in October, mirroring sentiments observed by retailers and businesses in Newark.

In July, Newark and Sherwood District Council, as part of the Welcome Back Fund, allocated all town councils in the district funding to re-energise footfall and retail spend. Allocation of funding took into account size and population density. Using this funding, Newark Town Council has compiled and delivered a programme of entertainment to provide a unique experience for visitors when they come to Newark.

The programme has included nationally-acclaimed street performers and local musicians, focusing on Saturdays to create a buzz in the town centre to complement the Saturday market.

Tom Blakemore, owner of GH Porter Provisions, a deli and butchers shop in Newark, said: “Recent weekend street performers and live music have been fantastic. They have created a buzz in town and made Newark stand out as a fun place to visit.

“Newark is such a beautiful town. The geography and architecture are awe-inspiring, and we have a fabulous mix of national chains and independent retailers. Our cafes and pubs are second to none, but visitors often need more. They expect “an experience” and want to be entertained. These initiatives do that!”

Ian Harrison, markets manager for the town council, added: “Since compiling and delivering this programme of entertainment in July, the atmosphere in the town and particularly Newark Market Place has been buzzing. The increased footfall has attracted more market traders, with the Saturday market now often at 95% capacity.

“This activity has emphasised to us that the world has changed and visitors now expect more than just retail, they want an experience too. Once visitors have tasted the rich heritage of our town centre and the lively atmosphere in the marketplace on Saturdays, they are likely to return.”

Councillor David Lloyd, Leader of Newark and Sherwood District Council, said: “I am delighted to see that Newark town centre is experiencing a marked increase in footfall. It has been an incredibly challenging time for our local businesses and retailers as we recover from the COVID-19 pandemic; however, it is extremely encouraging news that our town centre is experiencing a vibrant and bustling atmosphere.

“Through our continued partnership with town councils across the district, we hope this increase of visitors continues and is further observed in all of our towns.”

The Welcome Back Fund provided councils across England with funding from the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) to support the safe return to high streets. This funding has built on the Reopening High Street Safely Fund (RHSSF), which was introduced in 2020 as part of the UK government’s wider support to communities and businesses following the COVID-19 pandemic.