More shoppers return to Ipswich - but footfall still down on pre-lockdown levels

PUBLISHED: 11:40 30 August 2020 | UPDATED: 11:40 30 August 2020

The number of people in the heart of Ipswich is still way down on pre-lockdown levels. Picture: ARCHANT

The number of people in the heart of Ipswich is still way down on pre-lockdown levels. Picture: ARCHANT


Shoppers have been slowly returning to Ipswich town centre - but latest figures show footfall lower than pre-lockdown levels.

New figures from Ipswich Borough Council show that on Saturday, August 2, 9,415 people were recorded in the town centre.

On March 7 – the last weekend before concerns started to rise over coronavirus – there had been 18,991.

Footfall is measured by a number of council-operated sensors in the town centre.

Monthly comparisons with last year show a slightly smaller fall now. In July, there were 241,620 people in the town centre, compared with 364,071 in the same month in 2019.

MORE: Ipswich Central appeals for people to return to town centre offices

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The trend is even more stark in the number of people using council-owned car parks.

Until June, the figures showed there were only about 20% of the number of cars in borough parks compared with the same time last year. In July, that went up to approaching 40%.

The difference between the footfall and the number of parking spaces in use suggests that many of those recorded in the town centre are people actually living within walking distance of central Ipswich – not visitors who have driven into the town. Numbers of people coming into the town centre on buses have remained much lower than before.

Ipswich council leader David Ellesmere urged people to use the town centre and support the businesses that relied on regular shoppers.

He said: “The number of people coming into the town centre and using our car parks is gradually beginning to pick up but we are still significantly behind pre-pandemic levels.

“I would encourage everyone to support our town centre and local businesses where you can.

“Rates of positive coronavirus tests remains relatively low in Ipswich and Suffolk and to keep it that way we must continue to follow the rules, maintain social distancing, wash hands regularly and wear face coverings where appropriate.

“We don’t want Ipswich facing a local lockdown like some other areas. The best way to stop this happening is to stick to the advice and guidance.”

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