Survey shows footfall increase

Stock pic. Melrose town centre. Taken 31/07/12
Stock pic. Melrose town centre. Taken 31/07/12

Scottish Borders Council’s annual town centre footfall study has recorded a six per cent increase in average weekly footfall across eight main towns in 2015 compared to last year.

Carried out during September and October 2015, the study’s results compare to a two per cent increase across Scotland.

Duns and Jedburgh both recorded a fall in pedestrian numbers, while Kelso and Melrose both recorded their highest levels of footfall since monitoring began in 2007.

Increases were also recorded in: Galashiels, Peebles, Hawick, Selkirk and Eyemouth.

In the 2014 survey there was a collective fall of 11 per cent, a reduction largely due to exceptionally low levels of footfall recorded in Melrose, due to poor weather during the survey period. There was also a fall in Hawick.

Councillor Stuart Bell, executive member for economic development, commented: “These figures are only ever going to give us a snapshot of a short period of time and can fluctuate depending on weather, however it is pleasing to see that overall average footfall has increased and the figures for several towns are particularly encouraging.

“We need to build on these increases in footfall and the Council, partner and community organisations and businesses can all play their part in that, making our town centres as attractive as possible to local shoppers and visitors to the Borders.”

“This study started in 2007 and has in effect charted the impact of the recession and increase in internet shopping on our town centres, which largely accounts for the 23 per cent reduction in footfall over that period.

“These are not issues unique to the Scottish Borders and have been experienced to a greater extent across the whole of the UK and will remain challenges in the longer term.”

The six per cent increase across eight main towns does not include Melrose, which has been excluded due to the outlier figure recorded in 2014. If Melrose were included, the rise across the nine Borders towns would be 13 per cent.

The breakdown of results compared to 2014 is as follows:

Duns: -8%

Jedburgh: -6%

Galashiels: +3%

Peebles: +4%

Eyemouth: +6%

Kelso: +11%

Selkirk: +12%

Hawick: +16%

Melrose: +259% (2015’s is a 5% increase on the more representative 2013 figure).