Shopper survey mixed

LITTLE more than half of people surveyed said they thought that Stevenage town centre had improved overall in the last five years. Fifty-five per cent of those questioned agreed with the statement while 45 per cent disagreed. That was one of the main resu

LITTLE more than half of people surveyed said they thought that Stevenage town centre had improved overall in the last five years.

Fifty-five per cent of those questioned agreed with the statement while 45 per cent disagreed.

That was one of the main results of the annual town centre shopper survey which was promoted in The Comet.

Sixty-two per cent of people thought the range of shops had not improved in the last five years but 64 per cent said the range of places to eat and drink had improved.

The number of visitors who always or usually find a parking space quickly and easily dropped by seven per cent compared to last year, down to 57 per cent.

And there was an 11 per cent jump, to 35 per cent, in the number of people who felt that car parking was expensive compared to other centres.

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Nearly all people - 96 per cent - said they come to the town centre to go shopping and 76 per cent visit at least once a week, staying for up to four hours.

The majority of visitors travel by car, although the survey shows a seven per cent increase in the number of people using the bus.

"With 82 per cent assessing the town centre cleaning as satisfactory or better, 84 per cent (up by 13 per cent) feeling safe and secure when they visit and 70 per cent rating the planting and floral displays as attractive, the results are very encouraging," said town centre manager Tracey Parry.

The vast majority of those questioned said a police presence was the single measure that would make them feel more safe and secure, and some mentioned the number of youths hanging around.

"This survey is a useful tool for us to measure progress and we will continue to work hard to promote and improve the town centre through our partnership between private sector businesses in Stevenage and Stevenage Borough Council," said Ms Parry.

"We know we will never be judged truly successful until we have delivered the regeneration of the town centre that Stevenage so richly deserves but I am confident that, working in partnership with the council, this will be achieved in the not too distant future."

The favourite store people would like to see in Stevenage is Debenhams with John Lewis in runner-up spot. The next most popular were Wilkinsons and high-end ladies fashion shops such as Coast and FCUK.

The full survey report can be downloaded from www.stevenage-town-centre.co.uk/shoppersurvey or contact the town centre management team for a copy on 01438 740884.

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