Shoppers to help guide the future of West Suffolk’s high streets
04 Jun 2021
Shoppers and businesses are being asked to have their say on how future development will support local high streets and the economy.
This engagement will help inform the evidence we are creating to inform preparation of West Suffolk Council’s Local Plan; it will help guide our policies and choices about future development in in our towns.
As part of the local plan – which has to meet a Government timetable and be in place by 2023, West Suffolk Council wants to further understand how our town centres work, how people use them to consider how the local plan might help manage the economic success of our town centres.
From Monday 7 June residents will be selected at random to take part in a telephone survey, while town centre surveys will also take place with COVID security measures in place so households and shoppers can have their say.
It follows earlier COVID-19 safe consultation which saw more than 3,000 written responses – more than any other Local Plan consultation that the Council has carried out before.
Cllr David Roach, West Suffolk’s Cabinet Member for Local Plan Development and Delivery, said: “We know that even before the pandemic, that the nature of how people use our high streets has changed. Our high streets aren’t just places where people can shop, or live or work. They are also places that people have enjoyed coming to socialise – to meet for a coffee or go for a meal, or the cinema – all the things we have missed doing over the past months. We are seeing lots of people return to our high streets and this survey is about the evidence work to ensure our town centres continue to be a place people go to not just to shop, but for other economic, social, leisure and cultural activities, not just now but 20 years into the future.”
More than 1000 West Suffolk residents will be selected at random for the telephone surveys by NEMS market research, while they will also interview over 500 town centre visitors across West Suffolk about their shopping patterns and behaviours.
The work will inform the preparation of the West Suffolk Local Plan. The Government requires councils have to have a local plan in place by 2023.