Study finds rise in footfall across Border towns

Melrose town centre Credit: ITV Border

An annual town centre study has recorded a six per cent increase in average weekly footfall across eight main Borders towns in 2015.

Carried out by Scottish Borders Council during September and October 2015, the study’s results compare to a two per cent increase across Scotland.

Kelso and Melrose both recorded their highest levels of footfall since monitoring began in 2007, with increases also in Galashiels, Peebles, Hawick, Selkirk and Eyemouth. A fall in the number of pedestrians in key streets was recorded in Jedburgh and Duns.

In 2014 there was a fall of 11 per cent, however the council say this reduction was largely due to exceptionally low levels of footfall recorded in Melrose as a result of bad weather during the survey period, and a fall in Hawick.

“These figures are only ever going to give us a snapshot of a short period of time and can fluctuate depending on weather, however it is pleasing to see that overall average footfall has increased and the figures for several towns are particularly encouraging.

Cllr Stuart Bell, SBC’s Executive Member for Economic Development

The six per cent increase across eight main towns does not include Melrose, which is excluded due to the outlier figure recorded in 2014. If Melrose is included, the rise across the nine Borders towns is 13 per cent.

The breakdown of results compared to 2014 is as follows:

  • Duns: -8%

  • Eyemouth: +6%

  • Galashiels: +3%

  • Hawick: +16%

  • Jedburgh: -6%

  • Kelso: +11%

  • Melrose: +259% (2015 is a 5% increase on the more representative 2013 figure)

  • Peebles: +4%

  • Selkirk: +12%

Councillor Bell added:

“This study started in 2007 and has in effect charted the impact of the recession and increase in internet shopping on our town centres, which largely accounts for the 23 per cent reduction in footfall over that period.

Cllr Stuart Bell, SBC’s Executive Member for Economic Development