How do we increase footfall on high streets?

A reoccurring news story we have seen during 2019 is the drop in footfall on the high street. According to the BBC, the high street’s shop vacancy rate is at 10.3%, which is its worst since 2015. With a consistent decline in footfall, as a security company we ask, how can we help increase the population on the high street?

The rise in vehicle attacks

Cities often try and encourage people to the town centres by holding events throughout the year, such as Summer parades and carnivals. Not only do these attract local people, but they also attract tourists which helps increase footfall. However, with the rise in vehicles attacks during the past two years, it is important that we focus on making people feel safe and mitigate any potential risks.

As evidenced in the Barcelona attack in 2017, a van was driven purposely driven into pedestrians on La Rambla, injuring hundreds of people and also taking thirteen lives. After a series of vehicle attacks in 2017, this spread fear across the world, including the UK. This could be a contributing factor for people avoiding high streets as they feel they could potentially be a target; especially if there is a lack of hostile vehicle mitigation solutions in the area.

Governments across the UK have been considering what security measures they need in place and temporary products such as concrete blocks have been placed amongst cities. Not only are these concrete blocks unappealing to look at, but they are also ineffective and can cause more danger than if there were no security measures at all, which can be witnessed by this unsuccessful crash test. Due to this, products such as bollards and roadblockers are the appropriate choice for city centres and some products can even stop a truck dead in its tracks.

Integration to the streetscape

There are now products on the market which can aid with integration into streetscapes, whether these are bollards, roadblockers or planters. These security products can be made to look aesthetically pleasing, with suppliers offering a variety of covers or colours to blend in with their surroundings, whether this may be modern office blocks or historic architecture.

Whilst it is important that security solutions allow constant pedestrian access in busy shopping districts, it is also important to understand that streets may still need access to vehicles, therefore static bollards may not always be a suitable solution. Alternative options could include automated rising bollards or even sliding bollards, which can be placed on a timer or supplied with photocells to recognise when a vehicle requires access to the designated area.

Modern day solutions

When Heald visited West Yorkshire Police in September, a reoccurring problem was raised that many councils and governments face in city centres; utilities being close to the surface and therefore not being able to excavate deep into the ground. Surprisingly, customers are still not aware that there are products on the market that require very little excavation (500 mm and below) or even surface mount products, which not only have the benefit of a quicker installation process, but also save on install costs, such as less concrete being required and less civil works.

For example, Heald recently secured Clarke Quay in Singapore with the HT2-Manual Matador 4, which was identified as the most suitable solution. This was due to the product requiring a shallow foundation depth of 110 mm, meaning the product didn’t interfere with existing gas pipes and electrical lines.

Working together to create a safer world

Heald has worked with several governments and councils across the UK to help make the public feel safe. Both Stockton-On-Tees Borough Council and South Tyneside have had the Matador system successfully installed in their towns, which have resulted in an aesthetically pleasing look, whilst protecting their streets.

To discuss your security requirements with Heald, contact our friendly and knowledgeable team today.


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