Burnley second in the UK for high street recovery post Covid-19 lockdown
Burnley is bouncing back well from the Covid-19 lockdown, with its high street recovery currently in second place in the UK, according to a leading think tank.
The town is joint with Southend in the Centre for Cities study, with Basildon taking the top spot and nearby Blackburn in sixth place. Cardiff and Edinburgh sit bottom of the list.
According to the study, Burnley is also in sixth place when it comes to the largest increase in footfall since the reopening of non-essential shops.
Charter Walk Shopping Centre manager Debbie Hernon revealed footfall is up 65%, since June 15th, compared to the same period last year.
Laurence O’Connor, chair of Burnley BID, said: “It is positive and welcome news that so far, Burnley’s high street is recovering well from lockdown.
"The businesses in our town have proven innovative and resilient during this time and it’s great to see locals supporting the town.
"We saw when the non-essential shops reopened on the 15th June just how busy the town centre was, with people respecting the social distancing measures in place.
“Now many of our bars, restaurants, pubs and other retail are reopening, we hope the recovery continues and that people feel safe being in a town of Burnley’s size.
"With the fantastic variety of independent and big-name retail, early evening economy and nightlife, people can stay local when easing back into the post-lockdown ‘new normal’.”
Burnley is 80% rural and benefits from a large pedestrianised shopping area, much of which is uncovered. Business owners are hoping this reassures those visiting the town centre that it is safe to do so.
Centre for Cities said: “The first output of the high street recovery tracker illustrated that it is particularly strong city centres which are facing a slow recovery of their high streets.
"This is mainly due to office workers still working from home. The places where they shop or get their lunch, the after-work pubs, all remain empty. The problem is more severe for stronger city centres as office space is more central to their city centre economy.
"For these cities, the main challenge is around getting workers back and is at this point, out of their control. National-led schemes such as a temporary VAT cut or time-limited vouchers to spend locally can be possibilities to boost demand.”