Here’s the overview of what we found out last night from the study Surrey Heath commissioned on the town centre:
- Replicating the National Small Towns pattern the majority of the commercial ground floor units in the defined town centre are A1; Shops (53%).
- There is a higher proportion of A2; Financial and Professional Services in Frimley (22%) than the National Small Towns average. (15%)
- Similar to the National Small Towns pattern 78% of the A1 Shops in Frimley are either unique to the town centre (50%) or the South East (28%). The main difference in the data is the high proportion of ‘Regional’ traders in Frimley.
- 72% of the parking available in Frimley town centre is ‘Short Stay’, 22% higher than the National Small Towns average.
- Car parking vacancy rates are lower in Frimley (29%) than the National Small Towns average on the Non Market/ Quiet Day (37%).
Town Centre Use
- Replicating the National Small Towns trend, 43% of the Town Centre Users generally visited Frimley for ‘Convenience Shopping’.
- 34% of post codes were from those living in the town whilst 63% were from those living within a 30 minute radius. The ‘Visitors’ category is noticeably higher than the National Small Towns average of 29%.
- The vacancy rate of 1% in the defined town centre offering is vastly lower than the National Small Towns average of 7%. To place this data further in context, the Local Data Company in February 2015 reported that the Vacancy Rate in all town centres in Great Britain was 14%.
- Customer spend is higher in Frimley than the National Small Towns average with 38% of Town Centre Users spending more than £20.01 on a normal visit, 11% higher than the National figure.
Access to Services
- 28% of Town Centre Users reported that they visited Frimley to ‘Access Services’, 11% higher than the National average. 65% also stated that ‘Access to Services’ were a positive aspect of the town centre
Room for Improvement
- 61% of Town Centre Users and 50% of Businesses rated ‘Car Parking’ as a negative aspect of Frimley. ‘Car Parking’ was a key theme to emerge from the qualitative suggestions with specific subcategories, ‘free/ cheaper parking’ and ‘parking enforcement’. In terms of the latter, this refers to the negative impact of the current enforcement policies in the private car park.
- 50% of Town Centre Users and Businesses rated ‘Retail Offer’ as a negative aspect of Frimley. ‘Retail Offer’ was a another key theme to emerge with general comments being accompanied by more specific issues such as ‘reducing the number of charity shops’ and ‘increasing the number of cafes/ coffee shops.
- 65% of Town Centre Users rated ‘Physical Appearance’ as a negative aspect of Frimley, a figure augmented by qualitative feedback.
- A sub category to emerge from qualitative feedback was the need to reduce ‘Traffic Flow’ in Frimley town centre.
- The average footfall figure in Frimley on the busier day (Tuesday 16th June 2015) was 70 persons per ten minutes, which is noticeably lower than the National Small Towns figure on a Market/ Busy Day of 134.
- Similarly, and perhaps the truest barometer of trading conditions, the Quiet Day footfall figure in Frimley was 56 persons per ten minutes, once again lower than the National Small Towns figure of 98.
Frequency of Visits
- Interestingly the visits of town centre users to Frimley were less frequent than the National Small Towns average. Only 9% of Frimley users travelled to the town centre on a ‘Daily’ basis, 20% less than the National figure.
Rental Values/ Property Costs
- 60% of Businesses rated ‘Rental Values/ Property Costs’ as a negative aspect of operating in Frimley town centre.
- 60% of town centre users would not recommend a visit to Frimley Town Centre, 40% higher than the National Small Towns average.