Friday, September 15, 2017

News: How to stimulate footfall in Rotherham town centre

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Parking incentives, addressing perceptions around antisocial behaviour and extra marketing and promotion are some of the short term measures being looked at to stimulate footfall in Rotherham town centre.

Last month, Rotherham Council pledged to support existing businesses as they wait for the catalyst projects in the new masterplan to revive the town centre.

The masterplan was approved this week by the authority who will now go out to the market to secure a development partner for the key project on Forge Island - a proposed £43m leisure scheme.

The masterplan focuses on leisure and housing rather than retail and highlights that the mixed use leisure hub on Forge Island is a key catalyst project. However, it adds that it could be mid 2020 before the scheme is completed.

In the meantime the footfall in the town centre has declined from last year.

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Rotherham Council's Corporate Plan sets out the priorities for serving local residents and communities. It includes a target based on the aggregate pedestrian footfall in the town centre over the course of the year.

The first quarter of 2016/17 - between April and June 2016 saw an aggregate footfall of 5,641,296. The quarterly figure peaked in the summer months of July and September 2016 with 5,898,148. This declined to 5,492,033 for the Christmas trading period between October and December 2016. The quarterly figure recorded between January and March 2017 was 4,808,955.

For the quarter between April and June 2017 the footfall was 4,875,248, a reduction of 766,048 (13.5%) on the same period last year.

Reflecting a national picture of declining footfall, the Council has revised its target down for this year to over 22,000,000. Last year's target, which was missed by 1.8 million, was 23,699,399.

A report to the Council said: "Trading conditions in the town centre and currently very challenging, with footfall down and vacancies up. The Council are working with town centre traders to identify a suite of interventions to assist in the short to medium-term until the developments set out in the Masterplan start to come on line.

"Led by the Cabinet Member for Jobs and the Economy consultation has taken place with town centre businesses through Rotherham Voice to identify short term measures to stimulate footfall pending long term improvement through the Masterplan.

"This has identified a number of work streams which are currently being developed including:

- investigation of additional parking incentives and parking spaces
- a review of licensing of on-street promotions
- actions to reduce crime and anti-social behaviour and improve perceptions of safety including consultation on the implementation of a Public Space Protection Order (PSPO)
- town centre walkabouts with businesses to identify hot-spot areas for additional cleansing
- marketing and promotion
- opportunities for "meanwhile uses" and window/frontage treatments."

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The introduction of a proposed PSPO, which includes a number of prohibitions relating to street drinking; littering; rowdy and inconsiderate behaviour and drug related issues, was approved by commissioner Ney at the Council this week.

Earlier this week, an additional 200 temporary spaces have come in to use at the Forge Island car park which offers free all day on Saturday and Sunday and includes a "red zone" of free short stay parking in the week.

Free parking across the town centre looks unlikely to be introduced. Rothbiz reported last month that those behind the masterplan insist that it is not the key to success.

Images: RMBC / Crosthwaite Commercial


1 comments:

Anonymous,  September 18, 2017 at 12:21 PM  

Where's my comment ?

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