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Shoppers and skaters give Bury St Edmunds a boost...

Ice-skaters and Christmas shoppers have helped boost visitor numbers to Bury St Edmunds during the last month with the latest figures showing the town centre was much busier in December 2015 than the previous two years.

Footfall figures commissioned by the Business Improvement District (BID) organisation Ourburystedmunds showed a weekly average of more than 83,000 people visiting the town centre in December, an increase of more than 5% on the previous year, which itself was up more than 5% on 2013. And the figures for the whole year also show an increase in numbers compared to 2014 – which bucks the trend nationally as footfall figures for the UK in total are down by 2%.

Chief Executive of Ourburystedmunds Mark Cordell said: “This is a very pleasing set of figures for December, where Bury St Edmunds has done much better than the Eastern region generally and the UK which are both sharply down on the year before. For the whole of 2015 the numbers visiting our town are also up and indeed have risen significantly on a year on year basis every year since 2012.

“The BID works hard with its partners to improve its offering in the town centre to encourage people to visit and this year our ice rink saw thousands of people skating at the arc. The arc’s visit of the Coke truck on December 10 also boosted the figures for that week. In addition to this, the free parking initiatives in conjunction with the borough and county councils on a Tuesday and a Thursday meant that those two days were the busiest of the week during the late afternoon this month.”

The figures are the latest evidence that prove Bury St Edmunds is continuing to thrive in what is still a difficult climate for many other towns. Recently a number of new businesses have opened in the town centre and the number of vacant units is comparatively low.

Mark Cordell added: “The last week of 2015 was very busy with 11% more people in the town centre than at the same time last year. That was a fantastic conclusion to the year and gives us a great start to 2016.”

The Ourburystedmunds footfall figures are calculated based on an entry point to the town on Abbeygate Street. They are compiled for the BID by Springboard.

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