Newark town centre sees spike in visitors

Posted on: Monday, September 27, 2021

Newark saw an increase in visitors in the summer, according to the latest data collected by footfall sensors in the town centre as part of the High Street Heritage Action Zone project.

Since June, three footfall sensors have been operational, with the installation of a further two at the end of July. The sensors can identify accurate visitor numbers, dwell time, visitor movements and the frequency of visits. Data collected for August demonstrates a 70% increase in visits and an increase of dwell time to 151 minutes.

This data will be used to understand the vitality and vibrancy of Newark town centre to inform future policy.  In addition, it will act as evidence to attract businesses and investors to the town centre. All data is collected according to the Data Protection Act 2018 and UK GDPR legislation and all visitors remain anonymous. The Information Commissioner's Office is also aware of the activity taking place.

Chairman of the Economic Development Committee, Councillor Keith Girling, said: "The anonymous data collected so far is incredibly encouraging and demonstrates that residents and visitors from further afield are returning to our high street safely and supporting local businesses after the pandemic. Whilst it is important that shoppers and retailers remain vigilant of COVID-19, is it also vital that we continue to support our local high streets during this period of recovery. The data will also be a great tool when attracting new businesses and those looking to expand to Newark.

“We will continue to monitor and evaluate the anonymous data to determine future activities, with the potential of rolling this out to our other town centres in due course."

The footfall counters were installed under the High Street Heritage Action Zone scheme, which was funded by Historic England, and aims to help with the recovery of local high streets by regenerating historic buildings and helping to engage local communities with their local town centres.

Councillor Girling continued: “It’s a really exciting time for Newark town centre, with the funding from Historic England and a number of new innovative projects coming under the Government’s Towns Fund initiative, I’m looking forward to ambitious transformation of this well-loved town centre making it a destination people want to love, work and visit. 

“I’m really passionate about supporting our independent retailers and local businesses and am delighted to see footfall figures increase.  I hope that everyone continues to safely support our high streets after what has been the most difficult two years of trading probably ever recorded.”

More information about the High Street Heritage Action Zone can be found on the District Council’s website.