According to a new report, Preston’s high street is performing better than Manchester and Liverpool’s in post lockdown recovery.
The Centre for Cities ‘High Street Recovery Tracker’, compiled using anonymised mobile phone data, shows how high streets in the UK’s larger towns and cities are gradually returning to previous levels of activity.
Preston’s overall score on the recovery index is 59% where Liverpool sits at 38% and Manchester at 34%. The national average is 45%.
The report also shows that Preston’s high street is a destination of choice for people coming from outside of the city.
Pre-lockdown, more than 52% of weekday visitors to the high street where from outside of Preston, with 44% being from the city’s suburbs and just 4% from the city centre itself – which supports the call for more good quality city centre housing to be made available.
City centre workers will play a key part in driving the success of the high street, and in Preston’s case, many are still working from home.
The report shows that there has been a sharp decline in the number of people working in the city centre post lockdown, a reduction of 79%, which clearly has a sizeable impact on footfall and sales transactions.
It is estimated that around 5,000 people who normally work in the city centre on a weekly basis are still home working – with many not scheduled to return until autumn, at the earliest.
The weekend tracker shows a 71% return of people visiting the city centre during the day on Saturdays and Sundays.
This night time economy index measures the number of people who were in the city centre in the evening, compared to a pre-lockdown baseline of 100. The baseline referring to Fridays and Saturdays only, shows a return of 42%.
Of those returning to enjoy Preston’s award-winning night time economy over 41% are from outside of the city, with 45% from the city’s suburbs and 14% from the city centre.
John Boydell, Chair of Preston BID said: “The report shows Preston is performing well in terms of its high street recovery, and the BID is proud to have played its part, but there is still a long way to go.
“We are about to enter phase two of the city’s recovery, supported by grant funding from central government, a fund which will managed in Preston by the local authority.
“It will be a big boost to the local economy if we can continue on this positive trajectory whilst maintaining that the safety of those living in, working in, and visiting the city centre remains our top priority.”