Calls for TV’s Mary Portas to make Huntingdon her next stop

CALLS have been renewed for high street guru Mary Portas to visit Huntingdon after it was revealed the town’s latest footfall figures were down.

A health check conducted by Huntingdonshire District Council shows footfall has dropped by 1.4 per cent since last year, on top of the 3.8 per cent drop reported in 2010.

The figure is only 0.5 per cent up on the footfall count for 2006, but it compares favourably with the national average for October, which shows a 4.7 per cent drop year on year, and a 22 per cent drop compared to 2006.

In addition, 18 retail units remain empty in Huntingdon – one down from last year. Nine of the units have been empty since the end of 2010.

HDC’s economic development officer Sue Bedlow insisted there was reason to be cheerful.

“We would be naive to say [the drop in footfall] is not due to the recession. But against the national average, we are seeing just a 1.4 per cent drop in footfall.

“That is really good news.

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“But there is no room for complacency. All the work we do in community partnership, we must continue to do that to make sure we have got the best shopping environment, and to give businesses the best support we can.”

Cambridgeshire County Councillor for Huntingdon, Sir Peter Brown said he would invite Mary Portas, star of TV show Mary Queen of Shops, to come to the town.

Cllr Brown said: “When you look at other towns, I think we have done very well to get through the economic situation, but we have to look at new ways of enhancing our high streets, and making them places where we want to come.”