Visitor numbers to Peterborough city centre rise above pre-Covid mark

The number of people visiting Peterborough city centre is higher now than before the Covid-19 pandemic, according to a new report.

By Paul Grinnell
Monday, 4th October 2021, 5:00 am
Shoppers in the city centre. EMN-211101-090110009
Shoppers in the city centre. EMN-211101-090110009

The figures released by research group Centre for Cities shows that footfall through the centre is not only better than in March last year just before the pandemic broke but the rate is also higher than the national average.

The number of visitors to Peterborough from outside the area is also up.

The findings have been welcomed by business leaders.

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Tom Hennessy, chief executive of Opportunity Peterborough.

The Centre for Cities’ figures, which track anonymised mobile phone data and offline credit card spending, set the level of footfall just before the health crisis broke at 100.

By early April last year, shortly after the first lockdown restrictions came into force, footfall had dropped to its lowest level - just above zero.

Footfall through the city centre then picked up reaching the 50 mark in December before dropping back to near zero.

It is not until after the New Year that footfall begins to coninuously rise through to August 2021 to the 101 mark. The national average is 72.

Mark Broadhead, chair of Peterborough BID. EMN-201003-072049009

The figures also show that 50 per cent of visitors are from outside the city.

Tom Hennessy, chief executive of Opportunity Peterborough, said: “The consistently high recovery rate in Peterborough’s city centre footfall is great news.

“It means businesses and retailers have a better chance of making a solid recovery after 18 months of significant disruption.

“Data suggests over half of visitors are from outside the city which proves Peterborough is an important hub, not just for business and industry, but residents as well.

“It’s particularly good news with businesses going to the ballot for the city centre Business Improvement District.”

Mark Broadhead, chair of Peterborough Positive, which is overseeing the BID, said: “We are seeing exceptional growth in footfall throughout the city.

“It is a good platform on which to build the BID and I am talking to businesses all the time encouraging them to vote for the BID.”