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Ipswich bucks trend as town centre footfall goes up after Cornhill revamp

PUBLISHED: 07:30 16 December 2018

The new Cornhill has attracted more visitors. Picture: PAUL GEATER

The new Cornhill has attracted more visitors. Picture: PAUL GEATER

Archant

The number of people visiting Ipswich Cornhill has increased significantly since refurbishment work finished at the start of November, according to new measuring devices in the town centre.

The Cornhill revamp has helped to boost the number of visitors to Ipswich town centre. Picture: IPSWICH COUNCILThe Cornhill revamp has helped to boost the number of visitors to Ipswich town centre. Picture: IPSWICH COUNCIL

New beam counters were installed during August, which count the number of mobile phones logging into the wi-fi in the area.

As well as counting the number of log-ons, the devices can also tell if a phone has logged on before - so can identify the number of visitors to the town even if they pass through the area several times a day.

That shows 1.4million people had visited the Cornhill area since August – with the number leaping from 350,000 in October to almost 400,000 in November.

There was a 25% increase in the number of people visiting the town centre immediately after the barriers around the Cornhill came down.

Ipswich Borough Council leader David Ellesmere said he was pleased about the figures because nationally there had been a significant fall in town centre footfall this year.

He said: “We know these figures are not as complete as we would like because we cannot compare them with last year, but it is clear that the number of people visiting the town centre has increased and things are improving.

“There are also figures from the Buttermarket Centre which shows that its visitor numbers increased by 3.1% in November compared with that month last year – that is very encouraging.”

Nationally figures from the British Retail Consortium showed that footfall in retail centres in November fell by 3.2% compared with the same month last year. The fall was 1.4% in retail parks but a huge 3.8% in town centres.

Mr Ellesmere said: “For Ipswich to have beaten the national figures is clearly very good news for the town. Now we have to try to build on that and show how vibrant the town can be.”

The figures showed that a third of the visitors to the town centre in November were “new” – they hadn’t been into the heart of Ipswich since the beam counters were installed in August – and on average they spent just under two hours in the town centre.

And special events, like the lights switch on and the Ghost Caribous that were installed on the Cornhill had helped to boost visitor numbers further during the run-up to Christmas in Ipswich.

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