Parking and public transport among key concerns in Local People town survey
By MarkWPage | Wednesday, April 04, 2012, 15:28
Transport issues can drive people away from local traders to out-of-town shopping centres, a new survey suggests.
Findings are announced today of the first Town Survey conducted by localpeople.co.uk which polled more than 5,000 people across its network of 165 community sites in England, including Otley People.
âIt suggests people believe it is important to show loyalty to local independent stores but feel restricted by poor public transport and the availability of parking in town centres, compared to out-of-town shopping centres.
Two in five (39 per cent) of people nationwide consider poor public transport in their area had made them dependent on their cars to get about.
Lee Williams, General Manager of localpeople.co.uk, said: "Having polled the nation, localpeople.co.uk proves that, despite some grievances, the majority of locals are backing their towns and neighbours. By choosing to shop local, residents are prioritising independent retailers in tough times. However, local authorities should take heed that limited transport and parking will only serve to hinder potential retail growth on the High Street as they force shoppers out of town."
Diane Wehrle, Research Director at Springboard, said: "Footfall in town centres has declined by around 20 per cent over the last five years, which can in part be explained by the availability of free and plentiful parking at out-of-town shopping locations. Holistic strategies are required for town centres that integrate parking with other town management strategies so that the appropriate balance is achieved."
Meanwhile, refuse collectors and road-sweepers can hold their heads high as only one in seven people believe streets in their town could be cleaner.
Helen Bingham, Campaigns Manager with Keep Britain Tidy, says: "We're very encouraged by the poll's findings showing that locals across England are proud of where they live and want to keep their areas clean and tidy. Keep Britain Tidy's Love Where You Live campaign supports towns by inspiring, encouraging and enabling locals to make where we live, work and play the kind of place we really want it to be."
The Town Survey was conducted in March by localpeople.co.uk and explored local perceptions of towns across England including retail, transport and public services. Residents and active members on the localpeople.co.uk network were asked three questions and asked to select from 4-5 possible answers which they felt most closely described with their area.
Localpeople.co.uk is the UK's largest online website community with a reach of nearly one million locals across 165 towns.