Northampton Falling Visitor Numbers – Are we really turning into Wusses?

Rain didn't stop people during the summer at Delapre Abbey
Rain didn’t stop people during the summer at Delapre Abbey

Northampton Falling Visitor Numbers – Are we really turning into Wusses?

Northampton Borough Council performance data for the period October to December 2012 has now been published and it reveals as expected a mixed bag of the council’s performance.

What is interesting is that the information on the Town Centre footfall, the number of visitors to the town over Christmas, has been left off of the data!

As I wrote last week it’s surprising they haven’t been trumpeting their success from the top of the Guildhall especially given that we have been bombarded by the Northampton Conservatives on how well they have done in making the town attractive to visitors.

The reason for their reluctance may be that the information left out of the report revealed that the number of people who visited the town centre fell by 140,365 compared to the same period the year before.

It a number that may not seem alarming but when added to the April to September information it shows a drop in the Town Centre footfall of 635,184 compared to the 2011 April to December period.

The reasons given for the drop in the number of people have been consistent; apparently Northampton people don’t come into the town centre if it is raining!!

Which, if Northampton suffered from persistent freezing and driving rain may be a reasonable excuse –?

and of course, between April and December it did rain on 116 days out of 275 days including light showers, and most of the rain was at night so presumably according to the reasons given by the Borough Council Conservatives people don’t go out during the day, just in case it rains?

This begs the question of whether after forty million years of successful evolution are we to believe that Northampton people have turned into ‘wusses’?

Soft People or failing policies?
Soft People or failing policies?

If they are then hats off (or should that be on?) to those tough and hardy people who visited the Market Square presumably to attend the St Crispin Fair, Frost Fair and Ice Rink that increased by 81,000 compared to the year before.

So hands up, if you please, the 635,000 people who were apparently so afraid of the rain last year that it stopped them visiting Northampton and therefore are responsible for the decline of the Town Centre.

It is of course a complete load of PR balderdash and nonsense highlighting a pathetic and desperate attempt to find any excuse rather than face up to the reality, which is that the real reason people didn’t visit Northampton is a combination of families suffering as a result of the Government’s economic policies and, as the former Chair of the town centre Business Improvement District board recently said, a town that is uninviting and needs cleaning up.

What should be, but clearly isn’t, a concern to the Northampton Conservatives is that by the end of the year we may well be seeing almost 1,000,000 fewer visitors than last year with the impact on local businesses, bus companies and car parking only to serving the increasing perception that Northampton is in a permanent downward spiral.

Perhaps if the Northampton Conservatives really think the major fall in people coming to the town is the rain or worse, the fear of rain, they could provide umbrellas or reserve parts of the town for ‘wusses’ only.

Or they could get a grip of the problem and start to deliver the clean and thriving town centre where people and their families feel welcome and stop their PR spin that all is well, when the people voting with their feet clearly don’t agree.