Driffield NewsNEWS

Town centre footfall up by 16%

Driffield town centre is bucking the trend by recording an increase in footfall in the last six months despite town centres nationally struggling in the current climate.

Results from the local growth team at East Riding of Yorkshire Council (ERYC) revealed that Driffield’s high street recorded a 16 per cent increase in footfall from October 2022 to March 2023.

The data has revealed that the months of February and March both showed higher average daily visitor numbers compared to December, the traditional peak shopping month.

Footfall counters linked with the town centre Wi-Fi installation enabled the ERYC Local Growth team to track footfall data throughout the town centre.

The council said these results demonstrate positive signs of growth for Driffield and present increased trading opportunities for local business owners.

The news has been welcomed by business owners on Driffield high street.

Amanda Ludlam, owner of the Olive Tree and chair of the Driffield Town Centre Steering Group, said she believes work to encourage shoppers back to the town following COVID have resulted in the increase in people shopping locally.

She said: “I am chuffed to bits that Driffield is showing positive signs of growth and it shows that what we are doing to move forward is working.

“This data shows that people are coming into Driffield and shopping locally more than ever before and that is the way forward.

“As a business owner, I know the loyalty card scheme has been a big success in bringing people into the town to shop and the whole town benefits.

“As chair of the town centre steering group, I am really proud of all the businesses and how they are welcoming everyone, and the customer service is amazing across the town.

“As a group we are always happy to welcome new members and if anyone has any suggestions as to how we can keep Driffield thriving, I would be more than happy to speak to them, so please come and see me at the Olive Tree.”

Driffield greengrocer Andy Rafter said it was important to keep working on making Driffield a place where people want to come and visit.

He said: “I speak to lots of businesses in our trade and they talk about doom and gloom in business, but our figures are marginally up – I wouldn’t say 16 per cent – although some days they are, and Thursdays are always busy.

“What we have noticed is we are getting lots of different faces from people coming from out of town or people passing through.

“When we speak to them, they say they like Driffield because of the number of independents on the high street and the free parking and they like the pace of Driffield.

“I would like to think that some of the extra footfall is from all the new build houses.

“I am cautiously optimistic, but we have to work hard and keep the town in a healthy position so that people want to continue to come and visit.”

Following the devastating impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, Driffield Town Council worked in partnership with the Local Growth Team at ERYC and independent businesses in the town through the Town Centre Steering Group to launch a range of initiatives designed to encourage people to shop locally and improve the town centre to attract more visitors.

Projects including the Umbrella Plaza and seating; the Discover Driffield Loyalty Card Scheme; the Discover Driffield Gift Vouchers; the parklet and free town centre Wi-Fi have all contributed towards supporting the town recover.

Matthew Brown, Driffield town clerk said: “Driffield Town Council is really pleased with the figures which prove that the efforts that many of the local businesses, the Town Centre Steering Group, and Town Council have gone to have been worthwhile.

“The growth funding has allowed a broad spectrum of projects within the town to progress including improvements to the CCTV, Umbrella Plaza, the town centre Wi-Fi, and the Discover Driffield Loyalty Card.”

The Local Growth team have calculated that over £270,000 of Local Growth funding has been attributed to town centre improvement projects in Driffield since October 2020.

It calculates to £20.69 per head and is the highest spend per head of any market town within the East Riding.

During 2023, the Local Growth team will be evaluating the investment through the Driffield Commonplace platform and will welcome feedback and contributions on the investments made throughout the town.

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