When Sainsbury’s opened in December 2010, they provided Neston with covered car parking and a new Market Square, plus a sum of money, known as Section 106 funding, for improvements in the town centre.
In 2013 a Town Centre Manager, Katy Pierce, was appointed by the Town Council, and in Spring 2014 the Council took over the running of the Town Hall, the Market Square and the weekly Friday Market. Katy Pierce’s message for Neston
Benchmarking Report July 2014
A report on the Market, Car Parking, Shops and Shopping in Neston, dated July 2014 is now (July 2015) available on the Town Council website. You can download the pdf, which is 1.2 MB, and 73 pages.
30 traders were present at the regular market in Neston on Friday 2nd May, which is considerably higher than the National (17) and Typology* (10).
Footfall in Neston (118 [persons per ten minutes]) is very similar to the National figures on Market/ Busy Day (122) and is higher than the Regional (92) and Typology* (91) averages.
On the Market Day only 10% of car parking was available, noticeably lower than the National (28%), Regional (41%) and Typology* (28%) figures.
58% of town centre users rated the market as a positive aspect of Neston.
71% of those interviewed used the market in Neston and when questioned on what traders they used, the Fruit and Veg stall was the most popular choice, followed by Bakers, then Meat and Fish stalls.
Interestingly 91% of businesses reported that car parking was a positive aspect of operating in the town centre, vastly higher than the National (39%), Regional (50%) and Typology* (50%) figures. Similarly 67% of town centre users rated car parking and as a positive aspect of the data.
Vacancy rates in Neston town centre [15%] are very high in comparison to the National Small Towns (8%), Regional (9%) and Typology* (7%) figures. …we only use the data on the 100 or so towns on the system. The Local Data Company who review town centres of all sizes across Britain reported in February 2014 that the vacancy rate overall was 14% and 17% in the North West. Qualitative suggestions also concentrated on the need to get the empty units occupied and or revamped.
Low footfall and high car parking vacancy on Non Market Days
The impact of the market is noticeable in the town centre as footfall declines rapidly on the Non Market Day to 37 persons per ten minutes, vastly lower than the National (90), Regional (63) and Typology* (67) figures. Similarly, 41% of car parking spaces were vacant during the Non Market Day audit, a 31% increase from the Market Day and 5% higher than the National Small Towns and Typology* averages…at a meeting of the British Parking Association in 2013 a figure of 15% vacancy was discussed as a benchmark.
58% of businesses reported that compared to last year their turnover had decreased, more than double the National Small Towns average. Highlighting a lack of business confidence 50% of traders also reported that their profitability had decreased over the last 12 months and expected their turnover to decrease over the next year. Both set of figures are higher than the National, Regional and Typology* averages.
64% of town centre users rated retail offer as a negative aspect of Neston, noticeably higher than the National (42%), Regional (44%) and Typology* (27%) averages. Qualitative comments also centred on the need to improve the retail offering in Neston, for example the introduction of more clothes shops was often cited.
*Neston is classed as Typology Group 1 : Middle Aged, Managerial Jobs 236 places (14.7%) This group is characterized by relatively high values on young/ middle age groups (25–44), intermediate and managerial occupations, people working in public administration, education and defence, detached housing, households with adult children and a high proportion of carers. It has low numbers of residents with no qualifications. Geographically the group is found on the outskirts of the big cities…
Sainsbury’s Section 106 Working Group -Minutes of meetings and notes by the Chairman, Councillor Andy Williams (April 2012, May 2013)
Neston Town Centre Public Realm Design Guide
TEP Consultants from Warrington consulted the people of Neston in 2010 and 2011, and produced a report in 2011. A low-resolution version of the report (10MB) can be downloaded: Neston Public Realm Design Guide low res. The full version (170 MB) is too large to put on the website. A paper copy is in Neston Library Reference Section.
In October 2011 representatives of Neston Town Council, Cheshire West & Chester Council, Neston Civic Society, Neston & District Chamber of Trade, Neston High School, Community Activities in Neston, Ness Gardens, Sainsbury’s, Rightway and Marietos met to discuss Creating a Destination Brand for Neston.
•Their report was published in February 2012 and can be downloaded here.
Before the Sainsbury’s supermarket was built, the cleared site was excavated by the archaeologists AOC. This is a summary of an article sent to the Journal of the Chester Archaeological Society: ‘In 2009 AOC Archaeology carried out excavations at land between Brook Street and Raby Road, Neston, Cheshire. Residual medieval pottery and ceramic building material recovered from the site are the first medieval artefacts found within the town. They suggest a significant building was located in proximity to the site. The post-medieval remains encountered are thought to be those of an eighteenth century farmstead, which was later re-built during the Victorian period. Post-medieval pottery illustrates Neston’s strong domestic trade links with North Devon and international trade with Spain, France, Germany and the Netherlands during the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries.’ The full report of 110 pages (8MB pdf) can be downloaded here.
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