Footfall in Diss is on the rise, according to latest figures from South Norfolk Council.
Numbers released by South Norfolk Council show footfall during the day in show Diss is bucking the national trend. Footfall is up 11 per cent annually, while across the country there has been 20 per cent reduction, rising to 35 per cent in other market town in the UK.
It is really good news for the town that we have bucked the national trend in seeing an increase in footfallDiss district councillor Graham Minshull
The research was carried out by South Norfolk Council, which said the figures did not account for weekend or evening trends, as well as online trade.
Diss district councillor and former town mayor Graham Minshull told the Diss Express: “I was very pleased because the figures tell us our market town is thriving compared to other market towns across the UK.
“I was a bit surprised that Wymondham and Harleston had not fared well as they seem to be thriving as well. My thoughts were that this was down to the lack of supermarkets.
“It is really good news for the town that we have bucked the national trend in seeing an increase in footfall.”
Mr Minshull praised the role of Market Town’s co-ordinator at the district authority, David Disney. The Market Towns Initiative, by South Norfolk Council, was designed to promote economic growth, increase vibrancy in towns, and to improve footfall.
He added the positivity of market towns had been well-publicised, there had improved signage and street furniture, and said many businesses in Diss were giving their premises a “spruce-up”, all contributing to the improved figures.
The figures also claimed footfall in Harleston is down 34 per cent on last year.
Norman Hart, chairman of the Harleston’s Future group, said he “did not recognise” the decline being represented in the data, citing the fact the car parks in the town were at or near capacity on a regular basis.
The group hold a variety of activities throughout the year in a bid to attract people into the town. The recent Taste of Harleston event in October saw an estimated 3,000 visitors.
“I would like to pay tribute to the events team and Nicky Stainton (team leader),” he said. “They are a fantastic group of people and they have done a brilliant job, bringing thousands of people into Harleston.
“If we had not got the support and the funding from South Norfolk Council, some of the events would not have happened. We are indebted to South Norfolk for their support.”
Footfall data had previously been collected by the Action for Market Towns organisation, which has now closed. South Norfolk Council said they would continue to improve the accuracy of the results by replicating the same survey method next year.