More shoppers expected to visit town centre in coming days

Published: Friday, 19 June 2020

Almost 100,000 people visited Northampton town centre between Monday, 15 June and Thursday, 18 June, representing an increase of over 65% compared with the same time period in the previous week.

With more shoppers expected to visit in the coming days, the Borough Council and its partners are reminding people to plan their trip carefully and observe social distancing measures. 

Many retailers have their own safety measures in place, including queuing systems, and a limit on the number of customers allowed into stores at any one time. 

So it is worth considering the following points ahead of a shopping trip, to help make a visit the best it can be, under current circumstances. 

•    Be prepared to queue outside shops, which could mean waiting in a crowd of people, and make your trip longer than anticipated 

•    If queues stretch beyond the entire frontage of a shop, you will need to revisit later

•    Toilet and baby change facilities are limited 

•    Not all stores are open, so check retailer’s websites or their social media channels for updates

•    Taking the whole family shopping during these first few weeks of reopening might not be the best idea 

Councillor Jonathan Nunn, Northampton Borough Council Leader, said: “Firstly I want to thank visitors for their cooperation and support- it’s great that shoppers are so keen to support local retailers and come into town to buy things they’ve been unable to get during lockdown. 

“Since many shops reopened on Monday 15 June, we’ve seen more and more people coming into the town centre. Retailers are doing a really good job at keeping people safe and we’re seeing people queuing at a two-meter distance.

“If you’re planning to visit the town centre, please be assured that you’ll be safe, and that the measures put in place are operating well. However, it’s still worth remembering that things have changed, and the roads into town, the carparks, and the shops, may be very busy.” 

Parking in all Borough Council-controlled surface and multi-storey car parks remain free of charge until Sunday, 28 of June, with normal charges resuming on Monday, 29 June. The Mayorhold multi-storey has re-opened and all levels of the Grosvenor car park are also fully open. On-street parking charges now apply.

Visitors are also encouraged to check Northamptonshire County Council’s Smart Move Northamptonshire website, which provides live travel information, and to take note of journey times, displayed on digital signs on the major routes leading into town centre. Anyone travelling by bus should also check the Stagecoach app, which gives service updates and advice.  

Hand sanitiser stations will be available in town centre multi-storey parks in the coming days, and are already in place throughout the Grosvenor Shopping centre, but visitors are advised to carry their own too.

Signage throughout the town is also being installed to remind everyone of the need to socially distance, to protect their own health and the health of their friends and families, and the wider community.

Mark Mullen, BID Operations Manager, added: “We are committed to supporting our town centre businesses, who are working very hard to reopen and provide customers with a safe, enjoyable shopping experience. Please keep an eye on the BID’s website for information. 

“As shops re-open, we will start populating our online business directory, to help shoppers see which businesses are open and any changes to trading. We will continue working closely with Northampton Borough Council, Northamptonshire County Council and Grosvenor Shopping, to ensure that our town centre is as safe and as pleasurable to visit as possible.”

Northampton Borough Council is working with Northampton Town Centre BID, Northamptonshire County Council and Grosvenor Shopping to reopen the town centre.