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.

Summary:

Positives
Market
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.

Car Parking
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.

Negative
Empty units
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.

Retail offer
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…