MORE people are shopping in Huddersfield town centre, a survey has revealed.
And there are fewer vacant shop premises blighting the high street, it is claimed.
A survey commissioned by Kirklees Council showed that the number of people shopping in the town centre has risen by 4.5% in the past five years.
The study, carried out by Signet Planning, showed that 28.6% of all spending on goods other than food by people in the district was done in Huddersfield town centre – an increase from 28.2% on the 2003 figure.
Meanwhile, a separate survey by the council has shown that for the second year running there has been a drop in the number of empty shops.
Council officials logged 67 empty properties in 2007, equal to 9.6% of the total stock of town centre shopping. That compares with 77 units or 10.72% of the total in 2006.
Clr Ken Sims, Kirklees cabinet member for regeneration, said: “The latest survey demonstrates that Huddersfield is performing well as a shopping centre.
“The 2003 study was completed at a time when the town was experiencing a ‘honeymoon’ period following the opening of the Kingsgate shopping centre.
“The results of this year’s survey highlights the fact that the town has a stronger shopping base and that people have kept coming back to the town to do their shopping.”
Clr Sims said the figures underlined the importance of major regeneration schemes planned for the town centre and its fringes.
He said: “We are living in a competitive market and must continue to drive forward regeneration programmes that will further establish the town as a major regional shopping, commercial and leisure centre and attraction.
“In neighbouring centres such as Leeds, Barnsley, Wakefield, Bradford and Sheffield there are large schemes either under way or planned.
“The council and its partners are determined to more than compete with other towns and cities through a robust regeneration strategy aimed at attracting hundreds of millions of pounds of investment in town centre projects.”
Clr Sims pinpointed the Queensgate Revival scheme, together with other schemes on the fringes of the town – including the Waterfront Quarter, recently-announced plans for sites around the Galpharm Stadium and the wider regeneration potential of the Leeds Road corridor.”
Signet Planning is a planning and property development consultancy based in Harrogate, Newcastle and London.
It has carried out projects in areas including regeneration, residential development, retailing, leisure, sport and tourism for clients including Chelsea and Derby County football clubs, Barnsley Markets and West Nottinghamshire College.