Visitor numbers to Bury St Edmunds reach new high

Mark Cordell in Abbeygate Street which has recorded record footfall. 
Picture: Mark Westley
Mark Cordell in Abbeygate Street which has recorded record footfall. Picture: Mark Westley

Visitor numbers to Bury St Edmunds reached a new high for the first six months of 2017, according to the town’s business improvement organisation.

The footfall figures, commissioned by the BID organisation, Ourburystedmunds, showed 2,131,243 people visited, which is the highest figure for this period since footfall recording began in late 2012.

Good weather, the growing number of cafes and restaurants and the town’s ‘increasing reputation as a social hub’, are being highlighted as some of the reasons.

The new figures also show total annual visitor numbers have grown by 294,864 between 2013 and 2016.

“The first half of 2017 saw the highest number of visitors for this period to date,” said Ourburystedmunds chief executive, Mark Cordell.

“Every year, the second half is even busier, which means 2017 is on course to be the fifth successive year of growth .

“The fact that Bury is a safe, attractive town, with great public spaces, shops, cafes and restaurants, means that it is a desirable place to visit.

“With the number of new cafes and restaurants opening, it is also increasingly becoming a social hub for visitors, and the foodie capital of Suffolk.”

The footfall figures are povided by cameras situated in Abbeygate Street.

Mr Cordell added: “Though the cameras can be activated by the same person walking past more than once, the figures still represent year-on-year growth.”

Ourburystedmunds chairman, Mark Daly, told its recent AGM that the profile of the town ‘continued to rise.’

The meeting also heard shop vacancy rates now stand at 6.4 per cent compared with 10.1% in 2013, and a 9.5 per cent national average.