Fightback on to raise King’s Lynn shopper numbers

Political and business leaders hope a new campaign will bring shoppers back into Lynn's town centre following a difficult few months
Political and business leaders hope a new campaign will bring shoppers back into Lynn's town centre following a difficult few months
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A new campaign is being prepared to help attract shoppers back into the heart of Lynn, following a difficult start to 2018 for traders.

Footfall figures have continued to slip during the first three months of the year, though officials say the town centre is still performing better than the national average.

But political and business leaders are now joining forces in a bid to reverse the trend, with a new farmers’ market beginning next weekend.

Peter Hodson, the authority’s cabinet member for performance said: “Early discussions are taking place with the King’s Lynn BID and the Vancouver Quarter for a campaign to increase footfall levels.

“In conjunction with the BID, a Farmers’ Market has been organised for Saturday 14 April 2018 on the Saturday Market Place.”

The market is being jointly funded by the council and the BID committee and is currently due to be held monthly throughout the spring and summer.

Up to 30 producers are expected to attend the initial event, while there are also plans to set up a similar craft-based market, which will also be run on a monthly basis.

And further initiatives are also expected to be announced over the coming days.

BID chairman Darren Taylor said: “It’s always been a central part of our plan to do something with markets.

“I have always been very keen to get something going in the Saturday Market Place.”

The latest report follows a difficult run-up to Christmas, which saw town centre footfall drop by more than 13 per cent compared to the same period in 2016.

Much of that has been put down to the impact of road repair projects such as the Saddlebow interchange works, which are finally set to be finished in early May, and other schemes in the town centre itself.

Mr Hodson said the disruption caused by snow and freezing conditions during the so-called Beast from the East in late February and early March had also made a “dramatic” impact, although no actual data has so far been published.

But he said that national retailers such as Prezzo’s and New Look, which have hit the headlines in recent weeks for closing dozens of branches and seeking re-negotiation of leases for many of its other stores, were continuing to perform well in Lynn.