Cameras to be used in bid to throw light on falling number of city visitors

SURVEILLANCE cameras are to be introduced to monitor footfall in one of Yorkshire’s prime tourism destinations after the High Street retail crisis has led to a fall in the number of visitors and shoppers.

York Council has announced that it is planning to invest in the technology to glean a clearer understanding of the numbers of visitors to the city centre, as well as identifying the shopping districts which need to attract more trade.

The move comes on the back of the dwindling numbers of shoppers using the nation’s High Streets due to the dramatic increase in online purchases as well as the ongoing economic crisis. York itself has witnessed a six per cent decline in the city centre’s footfall between 2009 and 2012, which is above the UK average.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

The council is in discussions with businesses about the number of cameras which will be used and the exact locations.

The leader of the Labour-run authority, Coun James Alexander, said: “Making this long overdue investment will help us gain a much better understanding of how the city centre is being used by residents and visitors, not just in our key shopping areas and attractions, but in evaluating new concerns and maximising opportunities such as our evening economy.

“We’ve embarked on a programme of investment in our public spaces throughout the city as part of Re-invigorate York and the current set of cameras in Parliament street do not give an accurate reflection of public movement throughout the city.

“York’s diverse shopping offer for instance is across the entirety of the city centre, not just on Parliament street. Increasing the number of footfall cameras will not only monitor more accurately the numbers of people using the various areas of the city, but how they are using it.”

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Opposition councillors warned in August that York is teetering on the brink of a retail crisis amid concerns city centre trade is being undermined as shoppers are lured to out-of-town districts. There are also growing fears that York will lose trade to rival cities including Leeds, Hull and Sheffield after a lack of major investment in the last three decades since the Coppergate shopping centre opened.

The new cameras will be paid for from existing budgets and will be separate from the existing CCTV network, as they need to remain stationary at all times to gain accurate footfall data.