Footfall in Maidenhead improving but still below pre-pandemic levels

Shay Bottomley

Footfall in Maidenhead continues to remain lower than pre-pandemic levels, although the town centre is performing better than others across the country, according to a report.

The report to Tuesday’s Maidenhead Town Forum by town manager Robyn Bunyan detailed the changes in consumer behaviour in November and December.

Compiled by Springboard, the data for November showed that footfall in the town was down almost 20 per cent down compared to 2019.

In comparison, the South East and the UK were down 29.8 and 32.9 per cent respectively.

It should come as no surprise to see footfall figures for December remarkably improved. December 2021 saw a 78.2 per cent increase on the previous year when Maidenhead was under tier 2 restrictions before going into what was effectively lockdown just before Christmas.

Altogether, Maidenhead town centre saw 4,924,043 visitors across 2021. This was an increase of 29.6 per cent on 2020, but down 0.1 per cent on the last normal trading year, although it should be mentioned that non-essential retail and hospitality was closed for the first three months of 2021.

However, car parking is ‘still significantly down’ on pre-pandemic levels. Across 2021, there were 611,499 users of car parks in Maidenhead, a 21.5 per cent decrease on the last ‘normal’ trading year.

However, the report did state the figure was nevertheless continuing to rise, albeit slowly, with the lower levels ‘attributed to the lack of office workers in the town centre as the majority of weekday demand was from office workers and commuters’.

Discussing the report, Cllr David Coppinger (Con, Bray), said that ‘whilst it looks disappointing that footfall is down 20 per cent year-to-date compared with pre-pandemic levels’, Maidenhead had been performing better than the regional and national averages.

In response, the town centre manager said: “We’re not doing too bad in comparison to the rest of the country and certainly the South East.

“We are seeing slow, positive increases in our footfall and our car parking; people are coming back, quietly.”

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