Initiatives aimed at boosting Melton’s evening economy are to be launched this summer to build on the town’s success in more than doubling its daytime footfall.
The recently revealed findings of a 2014 ‘Town Benchmarking Report’ for Melton showed there were an average of 596 people attracted to the town centre on Market Day (Tuesday) compared to 279 in 2013.
Melton’s 2014 Market Day footfall figure was also higher than other East Midlands large towns.
Footfall in Melton on Thursdays also rose to its highest level last year (average of 258 people) compared to the previous year (156 people).
The ‘benchmarking’ data is collected quarterly and annually to give a picture of the town centre’s performance and comparing it with other ‘large market towns’. The findings help those involved in the town centre’s management and promotion to target goals and plan campaigns.
A report presented to Melton Council’s rural, economic and environmental affairs committee said: “Melton continues to attract high visitor numbers compared to other large towns nationally (41 per cent compared to 35 per cent) which supports Melton as a growing tourist destination. While Melton visitor numbers dropped slightly in 2014 (44 per cent in 2013 to 41 per cent in 2014) tourist figures rose from 15 to 17 per cent.”
In terms of perceived ‘negative aspects’ of Melton town centre a survey of businesses (25 businesses which completed surveys) ranked leisure facilities (69 per cent), pubs/bars/nightclubs (62 per cent), car parking (58 per cent) and safety (54 per cent) as the biggest areas of concern.
The report said: “The findings support the need to continue to promote and brand the town’s evening economy, in line with the ‘Think Melton Taste Melton’ campaign, to promote campaigns such as ‘Dine Before Nine’ and ‘After Dark’ and drive footfall into the town centre. A town centre evening and eating out guide will be produced in June to support this and promote evening economy businesses and their offer. Music and cultural events will be held in the Market Place in August to promote the town’s ‘cafe culture’ and leisure/cultural offer.
“Car parking initiatives will also be considered to increase and drive footfall into the town centre in the evening. This could include ‘Free after Three’ and Click and Collect/Pop In pilot schemes.”
Long-term vacant units in town centre are also being reviewed for projects, bringing them back into use, making them more attractive and highlighting opportunities for potential new tenants.