Tuesday, February 14, 2012

News: Rotherham town centre could benefit from Olympic ripple effect

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Retail analysts are predicting that the strong community spirit in Rotherham could help the town centre during the 2012 Olympics.

Springboard, the retail insights specialist that tracks footfall in over 350 UK town and city locations, has highlighted Rotherham as one of four types of potential Olympic winners this summer.

They expect that the towns that will benefit most will be those hosting an official event such as Weymouth; surrounding (satellite) areas such as Poole; established tourist destinations such as York; staycation hotspots such as Brighton; and towns with a strong community spirit such as Rotherham.

Springboard, which works with the Association of Town Centre Management, is urging town centres to take advantage of the influx in footfall by planning events, encouraging development and welcoming temporary businesses such as pop-up shops during the summer of 2012.

Towns and cities that embrace the event by throwing parties, celebrations and screenings will see a reflection in footfall – Springboard's figures showed a +7.9% national footfall increase over the weekend of the Royal Wedding last year, and Oldham saw a 36.2% rise in footfall during the Royal Wedding when the town threw a traditional British street party.

Diane Wehrle, research director at Springboard, said: "Both international and domestic visitors will be looking to make the most of Olympic events and will be seeking hotels, restaurants and other attractions in the nearby area. While these host cities will certainly see an immediate rise in footfall, we believe there will also be a significant ripple effect."

Springboard is sending out suggested guidelines to town centre partners to encourage them to make the most of the opportunity presented by the 2012 Games.

One key event already planned for Rotherham will be the London 2012 Olympic Torch relay that will see the torch carried from Templeborough through the town centre and on to Dalton and Thrybergh on June 26.

Clifton Park Museum currently has a display of Rotherham Sporting Greats, which includes four Olympic and Paralympic athletes, Paul Goodison, Peter Elliott, Kevin Hayes and cyclist Ben Swift.

Rotherham town centre website

Images: london2012.com

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