The latest public survey about shopping in Leighton Buzzard town centre has yielded mixed results.
This year’s ‘Town Centre User Survey’ received 1,213 responses, a rise of 524 since 2017.
Findings included people spending less than two hours in the town centre on average, despite an increase in footfall.
Around 58% of traders said their turnover has increased since 2017. Also 74% of people said their typical spend per visit was more than £10, which is above the national average.
Negatives included complaints about safety and anti-social behaviour, the retail mix of shops and problems associated with car parking.
One user said: “There are very few general clothes shops for women and no general clothes shops for men... As this is the case, I do all of my shopping in Milton Keynes.”
Another added: “It’s scary coming across groups on bikes who have no respect.”
Town Clerk Mark Saccoccio said the location of the town, surrounded by larger destinations, meant that many people used the high street for basics – explaining the two-hour average time spent in the town centre.
He added: “Judging from the positive level of responses, namely confidence in business turnover and increase in footfall, people recognise that Leighton Buzzard remains a great place to shop, eat and visit. It is not in the town council’s gift to dictate which shops open in the town. We can however strive to influence how attractive the town centre is. Annually, the town council invests a significant amount in floral displays as well as events in the high street.
“We service and maintain the multi-storey car park toilets which have recently been the subject of a £60,000 refurbishment programme. In addition, we remain committed to the market having invested in excess of £120,000 on the purchase of new gazebos and trader training for example.
“Through the Operation Dodford Agreement we have with Bedfordshire Police, we provide additional police patrols on market days for example.”
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