Rochdale town centre has seen a 152 per cent rise in footfall since non-essential retailers reopened

Rochdale town centre has seen a 152 per cent rise in footfall since non-essential retailers reopened

Footfall counters operating in the town centre recorded a 152 per cent increase in visits over the week compared to the previous week.

Various initiatives have been put in place by the BID in Rochdale Town Centre to create a ‘safe and welcoming town centre’, which has included, pavement stickers and signage to advise people to keep their distance, COVID-19 customer posters for businesses and enhanced cleaning.  

Paul Ambrose, Rochdale BID Manager, said: 

“Overall, footfall in the town centre is now running at about 55 per cent of the same week last year, which compares well to a national figure of around just 40 per cent for UK high streets. Nationwide, towns are recovering better than cities as people continue to work from home rather than commute.

“Obviously town is quieter than it normally would be, with some businesses still not able to open, but this steady increase in footfall is what we need to support our local businesses, many of which have suffered a huge loss in trade in the past few months. 

“A huge amount of work from the BID, the Council and businesses has gone into making the town safe, and it’s great to see that visitors continue to observe social distancing rules.

“Recent consumer research has found that, as well as shopping, people are most looking forward to meeting up with friends for a meal or a drink, and we plan to promote the town centre this summer as an enjoyable and safe day out” 

Working with the Council, and other partners the BID helped create a large outdoor area along Packer Street, known as Gracie’s Gardens, which will bring a huge boost to the town centre food and drink offer.  The area which is utilised by the Packer Street food and drink venues offers visitors an opportunity to socialise safely.

Paul Ambrose BID Manager added:

“Rochdale town centre has some of the best food and drink venues in Greater Manchester, the most talented chefs, the richest pickings in terms of producers and of course northern hospitality bar none.  The food and drink offer is helping to change the perception of the town and the BID will continue to work successfully with the Council to support its growth.  Gracie’s Gardens, is great example of businesses, the Council and the BID to working successfully together and it offers a great opportunity for visitors to drink and dine safely in a beautiful setting.  Looking  ahead diners will get a 50% discount off their restaurant bill during August under government plans to bolster the hospitality sector. The "eat out to help out" discount means people will be able to enjoy £10 off per head if they eat out from Monday to Wednesday and in due course the BID will confirm which town centres town centre venues have signed up to the offer. 

Mark Foxley, manager of the Wheatsheaf Centre, said:

“The increased hygiene measures and signage to encourage social distancing have worked well, so I think it’s fair to say the first weeks back have been a success. Retailers are commenting that whist footfall is down, basket spend is holding up, with people treating themselves.

“We are expecting a steady increase in footfall as the weeks progress, especially now that the majority of our businesses have reopened. Town Centres and shopping centres were already on a journey to re-purpose, this journey will undoubtedly be accelerated post COVID

“Whilst COVID-19 present a huge challenge for the High Street, I’m confident that the town centre will continue to reinvent itself as community hub designed around health, education, culture, housing, leisure, art and crafts, along with retail”.

13 Jul 2020