Data shows that there are millions more visits to St. Helens than in the pre-pandemic period !

Full details about Data shows that there are millions more visits to St. Helens than in the pre-pandemic period

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Mobile data has suggested that changes in working habits have resulted in millions of visits to central areas of St Helens.

Analyzing data from more than 500 high streets in the UK from 2019 to 2022, analysts and Visitor Insights found that many suburbs and small towns saw an increase in activity compared to before the pandemic.

Coastal cities in particular have been busier than they were before the Covid pandemic, while large city centers have seen a drop in visitors.

Analysts point out that this is due to more people working from home and residing in towns and suburbs, compared to moving to city centers before the pandemic.

Data in St Helens

St. Helens Star: Customers eat out at Dean's former bar in 2021Customers eat outside at Dean’s former bar in 2021 (Photo: Bernard Platt)

rom January to November 2019, the study found there were 154,133,334 visits to downtown St Helens.

In the same period three years later, mobile phone data indicates that there were 18,587,784 visits, highlighting an increase of 20.60%.

Looking at the data, the study shows that there were an average of 1,413,365 visits to the city center each month in 2019.

The maximum number of visits in the same region from April 2020 to November 2022 was recorded at 1,996,921.

Highlighting the decline in visitors in larger cities, the data shows a -55.41% drop in visits in the City of London, a -27.34% drop in Manchester’s Northern Borough, and a -11.41% drop in Liverpool.

High Street difficulties

St Helens Star: Marks and Spencer left St Helens in 2019Marks and Spencer left St Helens in 2019 (Photo: St Helens Star)

Despite the data, it cannot be said that St Helens has not faced challenges with downtown footfall, with departing brands such as Marks and Spencers being a huge loss to the city centre.

Smaller traders have also felt the impact of lower footfall in recent years and the overnight economy has been hit hard.

But many residents often choose to shop at the big name retailers at local retail parks, such as Ravenhead and St Helens.

With a massive regeneration project planned for St Helens, the study shows positive signs that while businesses may be leaving the high street, residents are still visiting the central areas.

Renewal plans “catalyst for change”

St Helens Star: The council aims to bring new homes, offices, retail, hotel and market to the city centreThe council aims to bring new homes, offices, retailers, a hotel and market to the city centre (Image: St Helens Council)

Aware of the deteriorating trends through high streets, St Helens Council commissioned a ’20-year strategic master plan’ to transform the town centre.

The regeneration plans, designed to increase footfall in St Helens, aim to bring new homes, offices, retail, a new hotel and a market hall to the city centre.

A report from the Downtown Master Plan says it sets out a clear vision and goals that will “catalyze the delivery of transformative change.”

The report said the successful implementation of the plans will help secure “a range of long-term economic, social and environmental benefits across the city center and positively impact the wider borough.”