Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Christmas Past and Future

I have to confess that I do my best to avoid any town centre at Christmas - not a case of humbug you understand, just not wishing to have my Christmas spirit sapped by the hoards of stressed out shoppers that I fear I shall encounter.

It would seem I am in the minority! A review by the influential think tank - The Newbury Town Centre Management Steering Group - has revealed that Newbury enjoyed a bumper season of goodwill with takings and crowds both soaring. Probably a link there!

Anyway, a statement issued by the group today tells all, so here it is:

A comprehensive review of Christmas 2006 has revealed increased takings with larger crowds being drawn into Newbury than previous years.

The Newbury Town Centre Management Steering Group, which is made up of retailers, business professionals, representatives of the leisure and transport industries and other interested parties, met last week (Friday 26th January) to review economic activity in the town during December.

Town Centre Manager, Mitch Roberts commented: “There was already a sense that last Christmas had been a real success for Newbury, but there was clear evidence presented that shops had enjoyed increased takings, footfall through the town centre was up and the town centre’s car parks were in heavy demand as people chose to visit Newbury over Christmas.”

“There was overwhelming support for the ice rink and members felt this had been a major factor in the increased numbers of people visiting the town. The ice rink was delivered by a local partnership consisting of both the public and private sector and we are urging those that were involved, to, once again offer a similar attraction later this year.”

A working party has been formed to explore other ways the attraction of Newbury during Christmas can be enhanced, including the possibility of new Christmas illuminations, and will be reporting back at the steering group’s monthly meetings.

Mr Roberts said: “People joke about Christmas coming earlier each year; however we want to make sure this town celebrates in style and that people from Newbury and further a field wish to celebrate with us which is why this group has been formed.”

The steering group, which is a think tank made up of individuals and organisations invested in the future of Newbury, also discussed how other events are needed throughout the year and a small group of members is exploring ideas to promote the town during 2007.

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