Positive report for Bury St Edmunds...
Cafes and restaurants in Bury St Edmunds have been highlighted as among the most positive aspects of the town centre, together with its retail offer, cultural activities and markets, according to a study commissioned by Ourburystedmunds. All are rated significantly higher here compared to large towns nationally and this year’s figures for those elements of the town centre are at a five year high.
The figures are revealed in a ‘benchmarking’ study looking at how the town is perceived by the people who use it. The findings have been presented to businesses in the Business Improvement District (BID) tonight at the Ourburystedmunds Annual General Meeting.
Ourburystedmunds Chief Executive Mark Cordell has welcomed the report. He said: “This survey has reinforced the view that Bury St Edmunds is a great place to live, work and run a business. Almost everyone who took part in the survey said they would recommend a visit to the town to others. It’s perceived as considerably cleaner, safer and attractive as a town than other large towns nationally.
“We asked people for their honest opinions on why they do – or don’t – visit Bury St Edmunds and the improvements they’d like to see. People have highlighted pay on exit or more occasions when car parking is free and this is something I will report back to the local authorities responsible for parking.”
In many aspects of the report, Bury St Edmunds scored well above the national average for large and small town centres. The significant findings of the research included:
- 98% of people said they would recommend a visit to Bury St Edmunds to others – which is about 30% higher than other towns.
- Bury’s car parks are busier on both market days and non-market days than the national average. Only 23% of spaces are unused on a market day and 32% on a non-market day, which is almost the same as last year’s results and a significant improvement on previous years.
- 46% of town centre users spend more than £20 when they come into town – which is 6% more than the average for large towns nationally.
- The ‘Free from Three’ parking initiative on a Tuesday has seen a slight increase on last year with 41% of users saying they had taken advantage of it.
- When asked for a negative aspect of the town centre 54% of respondents answered car parking – but this is a lower figure than the previous two years (59% & 64%).
However many of those who responded still called for an improved link between the arc shopping centre and the old town centre and wanted to see further investment in Cornhill Walk shopping centre.
The study was commissioned for the fifth year running and was carried out by researchers from People and Places via an online survey. The full report will be considered by the board of Ourburystedmunds in the coming weeks.