Is Dereham bucking a national trend? Figures suggest increased footfall in town centre

Shoppers in Dereham. New figures suggest more people are shopping in the town centre. Picture: Ian

Shoppers in Dereham. New figures suggest more people are shopping in the town centre. Picture: Ian Burt - Credit: Ian Burt

New figures suggest Dereham is bucking a national trend by seeing increasing numbers of shoppers in its town centre.

Ten thousand more cars used the Dereham Shopping Centre Car Park in 2016 than in the previous year.

The figures, which have just been made available by Dereham Shopping Centre management, are used to help inform businesses peak times, quiet periods and help paint a picture of the town's general outlook.

Dereham Shopping Centre manager Nigel Sizeland said: 'The town has a few empty shops but there is a lot to be positive about.

'Dereham seems to be bucking the national trend.

'With the average number of people per car, it would be fair to say 10,000 cars means 25,000 extra shoppers.'

Figures for the first half of this year also suggest positive news for traders.

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Since March 2017, the car park has seen an extra 5,500 cars, compared to last year and the busiest month was May when an extra 4,000 cars parked in the centre, although January and February were much quieter in comparison to those months in 2016.

Mr Sizeland said: 'I think people like coming to Dereham because it is a safe, friendly town.

'You can walk around without the stress you get in bigger places and without being bothered too much by people stopping you in the street trying to sell you things.

'I speak to people who have come for a day out in Dereham from places as far as Great Yarmouth, Lowestoft and Lincolnshire, you'd be surprised how far people come.'

Nationally, analysts are reporting declines in the number of shopper visits to high streets and shopping centres around the country of as much as 10pc in some cities over the past year.

Worries about the economic outlook, the rise of internet shopping and more spending on eating out and leisure have been suggested as possible causes.

What do you think of shopping in Dereham, Fakenham and Wells?

Do you shop in the towns regularly or spend your money elsewhere?

What do you think could be done to improve the towns?

Send your views to adam.lazzari@archant.co.uk.

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