- Council Support for Businesses is working
- Ormskirk visitor numbers buck national trend
- New events boost cultural offer
West Lancashire is continuing to build on its appeal as a great place to live and visit as the Council’s priority to support businesses to adapt and prosper continues to show dividends.
The new Tawd Valley Centre is now open and trading, with major retailer Poundstretcher recently taking up residency to complete the centre’s retail offer. New initiatives also include the Greener Tourism scheme to encourage businesses to be more sustainable, with major attraction Famer Ted’s being the latest to sign up. And the recently launched ‘Enjoy West Lancs’ gift card is also helping to keep spend local as businesses including the Secret Garden Glamping site, ASAP Vintage clothes retailer and the Cricketers continue to come onboard.
New events like the hugely popular Skelmersdale Light Switch On that now runs alongside the Ormskirk Switch On, and the highly successful Bank Holiday Festival, have expanded the events calendar in the Borough. New green spaces to compliment areas like Beacon Country Park are also on the horizon including a damsel fly habitat in Tawd Valley Park, Skelmersdale, thanks to a successful £25K funding bid.
And recent visitor figures to Ormskirk’s town centre suggest the Council’s support for the high street and visitor economy are working.
Ormskirk town centre, with its eclectic mix of high street names, independent retailers, hostelries and cafes, along with its unique Charter Market are proving a big draw to visitors. The welcoming atmosphere and historic market town charm is beating local and national footfall averages and even pre-covid levels.
From July to September, Ormskirk had a 16.4% increase in the number of visitors than the same time period last year, bucking the trend of other regional towns that saw a more modest 4.2% rise. Figures for Ormskirk even beat the national uplift that saw an increase on average of 9.9%.
But the figures are even more startling when it comes to comparison with 2019. Following the challenges of COVID, 14% fewer people nationally are attending town centres than before the pandemic, with regional numbers also hitting a similar figure of 13.6% fewer visitors. Ormskirk however attracted 2.6% more visits than in the pre-pandemic period.
Councillor Adam Yates, portfolio holder for Finance and Economic Regeneration said: “These excellent figures are really encouraging and show that the hard work of West Lancashire Borough Council in making sure there is a vibrant and inviting retail and leisure offer is really paying off.
“We are leading the way with our town centres, shops and visitor attractions. But we won’t rest on our laurels – we’ll continue to build on this success across the Borough to boost its appeal as a fantastic place to invest, live and visit”.