NORTHWICH town centre could be heading down the road to recovery at a quicker pace than big cities and covered shopping centres.

This is the view of Cllr Andrew Cooper, who delivered a recovery update during last week’s Northwich Town Council meeting.

Cllr Cooper says that footfall is now back up to 80 per cent of what it was before the coronavirus lockdown was imposed.

And he believes that the town has fared better than cities in terms of attracting shoppers back due to its small and open-air nature.

“Safety has been the key with reopening the town centre, and is much more important than driving footfall,” he said.

Northwich Guardian:

“But Northwich has fared better than big cities in terms of a drop in footfall. Ours did suffer a drop, but quickly recovered and hovered around the 40 to 50 per cent mark of what it was before lockdown.

“It is now back up to between 70 and 80 per cent of normal levels, but this isn’t necessarily being felt by all shops though.

“Food outlets are not experiencing a level of trade that that level of footfall would imply, with professional services located in the town centre, such as insurance brokers and accountants, still largely still working at home, which has had an impact on lunchtime trade.

“It is still early days, but there is some evidence to say that Northwich, as a small town, may find it easier to recover than big cities and covered shopping centres.

“People want to go to smaller, open-air places, so we have our fingers crossed.”

Cllr Cooper also revealed that Barons Quay is currently 76 per cent let in terms of square footage, with another six per cent in the hands of solicitors.

Northwich Guardian:

He added: “We cannot be complacent however, as nobody knows what is going to happen to town centre retail over the next few years and what the long-term impact of coronavirus will be.

“There were some encouraging sings and some momentum for Barons Quay lettings before the pandemic, so we will have to see how that progresses.”

On the recovery of the town centre as a whole, town council clerk Chris Shaw added: “We have been working with Cheshire West and Chester Council, Northwich BID and Barons Quay to offer support in reopening in recent weeks.

“We have spent time in the town centre speaking with local businesses to see what support they require going forward.

“Footfall within the town is beginning to pick up, and hopefully this will continue to rise with the reopening of further businesses.”