Almost 10,000 visit Ipswich town centre on first day of shops reopening
PUBLISHED: 06:26 20 June 2020
Sarah Lucy Brown
Almost 10,000 people visited Ipswich town centre on the first day of non-essential retail trading, as the region’s towns look towards a ‘new normal’.
Both town centre footfall and car park usage have been on the rise since mid-May, with the number of shoppers visiting the high street slowly climbing towards normal levels.
More than 9,200 people visited the town centre on the day shops were allowed to reopen on Monday, June 15, according to Ipswich Borough Council – representing a 44% increase compared to the previous Monday (June 8), which saw 6,413 people trigger footfall sensors. In terms of cars, 527 parked at the temporarily free Crown Car Park on Monday, opposed to 733 the year prior.
Ipswich Borough Council leader David Ellesmere said public safety remains paramount throughout the reopening process, and called for people to support local businesses.
Mr Ellesmere added: “I am pleased that the reopening has gone well. Hundreds of people have taken advantage of our Crown Car Park free offer and good use is being made of the additional public toilets we are providing in the Corn Exchange.
“In these difficult times, local retailers need our support wherever we’re able to give it. I hope we can all play our part by doing more of our shopping locally. “Together we can help our town centre recover.”
Pre-lockdown, in early March, Monday figures averaged around 13,500 people – while at its lowest during the height of lockdown, just 2,456 people visited the town centre.
Among the busiest shops on reopening were Primark and H&M, which both had large queues outside their doors – although social distancing measures are in place to ensure people kept at least two metres apart.
Mr Ellesmere added: “Public safety remains paramount. Even though we are moving towards a new ‘normality’, we still need to keep following the rules - maintain our distance, wear a face covering where appropriate and wash our hands regularly.”
The latest figures for Bury St Edmunds have not yet been made available, although a spokesman for Our Bury St Edmunds said traders have experienced a better than anticipated start to reopening, and sales have increased as the week has progressed.
In Colchester, the number of cars parked at St Mary’s, St John’s and Britannia town centre car parks more than doubled in the first five days compared to the week before.
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