Nantwich town centre - Sat 24-4-2021 (1)

Footfall in the ‘half demolished’ Crewe has increased by 36% but fallen by 5% in Knutsford, according to latest Cheshire East figures.

They show Crewe has increased footfall more than any other Cheshire East town, with Nantwich second with an increase of 26%.

But Cllr Andrew Kolker questioned the reliability of the figures at the economy and growth committee.

And also said he was surprised the increase across the borough as a whole from 2020/21 to 2021/22 is only 10% “since it was illegal to go into the town centre for many months of 2021”.

“I note that we’ve demolished half of Crewe and there’s many shops, large shops, that are now closed in the centre of Crewe and yet the footfall has increased by 36%,” he said.

“Whereas somewhere like Knutsford which has very, very few, if any vacant shops has decreased by 5%.

“I’m just a little bit surprised by some of those figures.”

Peter Skates, director of growth and enterprise, said the council had been monitoring the data in all nine service centres as well as Crewe and Macclesfield since lockdown.

“It is clear that a lot of the towns have responded differently,” said Mr Skates.

“Towns like Middlewich actually saw an increase in footfall during the restrictions, and we considered that was probably likely because there was less travel to Crewe and Northwich from that local centre.

“In terms of Crewe I think, yes, there is a lot of transformation happening in Crewe but we’ve actually opened the Market Hall and the Market Hall has been very successful and has led to a lot of new footfall into the town centre.”

He said he was satisfied the figures were accurate.

town centre footfall
town centre footfall table

“It is quite enlightening the amount of quality information you can get from this mobile data,” said Mr Skates.

“We’re able to say that someone who’s visiting Knutsford, how many miles they’ve travelled to get to that location and we use that in the early days when we are trying to understand implications around Tatton Park etc.

“So the data is there to be accessed. We are monitoring it on a monthly basis and we can utilise it.”

Cllr Kolker still wasn’t convinced.

“In April, May and June you weren’t allowed out the house and then, for many months after that, only essential shops could be open so I’m really surprised that 10% increase only,” he said.

“It just doesn’t bear up to scrutiny. The town centres were deserted.

“In some places, you had deer in the centre of towns because there were no people there.”

(Story by By Belinda Ryan, local democracy reporter)


  1. david jones says:

    We shouldn’t be surprised with higher footfall when there are additional 5000 houses going up every year, of course the town are going to be busier!

  2. Des Norman says:

    What nonsense if people are out walking more they
    Are not necessarily buying more as such, COVID brought every man and his dog out, never seen so many walkers

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