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You are here: Home Page > Council and Democracy > Council News > Archived News > December 2010 > Major Boost for Town Centre

Major Boost for Town Centre as Victorian Fair Brings Stunning 77% rise in Footfall

This year’s extended Victorian Christmas Fair saw a staggering 77% increase in footfall in Bedford town centre compared to the weekend of last year’s event. The High Street was temporarily pedestrianised for the event for the first time, with nearly 200 metres of Christmas market stalls adding to the Fair’s usual area of Harpur Square and Midland Road.

In addition to the extended market selling an array of seasonal gifts, food and treats, the fair featured Victorian fun fair rides and live entertainment for children of all ages.  

Mayor Dave Hodgson said: “The stunning footfall figures indicate that the Victorian Fair was a great success in bringing people into Bedford for Christmas shopping and the festive fun on offer. With many other towns cutting back on Christmas in the current climate, I am pleased that we have been able to put on a series of events to help make Bedford an enjoyable and attractive place to come at this time of year for local residents and visitors alike.  It was the first time the High Street was closed to traffic for the event, and while inevitably there were elements that could be improved if it is to be repeated, overall it was fantastic to see so many people of all ages out enjoying their town in the run up to Christmas.

With Christmas now approaching fast, we are continuing to encourage people to do their Christmas shopping both in the town centre and at retailers across the Borough, as we step up our ‘Buy in Bedford’ campaign at this crucial time of year for our local traders.”

Vic Warner, proprietor of Goldings (in High Street) said: “Our tills were rolling and it was a thundering success financially for our shop. The benefit to my business was overwhelming, particularly on the Saturday.

Shoppers were both local and from surrounding towns and they really appreciated seeing an old fashioned ironmongers.  Two lady shoppers had come from Luton, only their second visit to Bedford, and they thought it was wonderful.  They had used the Park & Ride and had no transport problems.”

Since the event, Bedford Borough Council has received positive feedback from High Street businesses and a range of groups, with many now looking forward to next year’s event!

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