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Boost to high streets as footfall figures climb

High streets in Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole have shown an increase in footfall during April, as residents came out in force to support the local economy.

Footfall data for Bournemouth’s high street confirms in April 2022, over 4.6 million people visited during this month, an increase of 36% from the previous year and similar to pre-pandemic levels in April 2019.

Christchurch welcomed 1.3 million visitors last month, an increase of 8% on the previous month and a 17% increase from pre-pandemic April 2019.

In Poole, over 2.6 million people visited the high street during the same month, an increase of 11% from the previous year, with the figures ahead of the national benchmark by 23% over the three-year period.

The news is a boost to the retail and hospitality economy after a challenging couple of years due to the pandemic.

BCP Council, working alongside the Business Improvement Districts (BIDs), local businesses as well as the local community, have implemented several initiatives such as Shop Local and the Cleaner, Greener, Safer campaign, which are credited with helping the rise, as well as appointing a Lead Member for High Street Renaissance, to ensure high streets and district centres across the conurbation continue to prosper.

Councillor Philip Broadhead, Portfolio Holder for Development, Growth and Regeneration commented:

“It’s great to see that more people are visiting Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole’s high streets as evidenced in the footfall figures. Throughout the pandemic we worked hard to support businesses across our retail, hospitality and trade sectors with several grants schemes to get them through the crisis. Now we need to ensure we continue supporting these sectors while encouraging others to do the same so that we bounce back stronger than ever before.

“Our high streets are constantly evolving, more now than ever before, and we continue to work closely with our partners and the local community in aligning and growing this process, so they remain exciting, vibrant, friendly spaces for everyone.”

These council-led initiatives including a £3.1 million investment in the Cleaner, Greener, Safer campaign which aims to bring back a sense of pride across the conurbation with recent improvements including the installation of new bins in Bournemouth town centre, the removal of graffiti in Christchurch and the refurbishment and painting of street benches and lamp posts in Poole.

The council’s evolving High Street and District Centre Strategy is also building on this success through pilot schemes currently running in Kinson, Highcliffe and Broadstone. These schemes are designed to enhance and reimagine these local areas to create culturally rich destinations for experiences and events, to showcase their full potential.

The ‘Shop Local’ initiative is another example of how the council is driving footfall to the high street by encouraging everyone to explore their local area and support the local economy, creating booming high streets in the process with vibrant communities driving them forward.

Councillor Philip Broadhead continued:

“As one of the most innovative coastal regions in the country it’s important that we continue to turn every challenge into an opportunity, and we’re committed to creating attractive high streets that everyone wants to work, shop and play in.”