Closure of Friarsgate car park didn't affect number of people in town
How did the final closure of Friarsgate Car Park in 2015 affect footfall in Winchester town centre?
Some people, mostly shopkeepers, believe that reducing car parking capacity will cause a reduction in footfall. Friarsgate Car Park gives us the chance to look at the facts.
Friarsgate closed in stages, with the last 131 spaces closing in March 2015 (after the closure of the top floor in 2007; 46 spaces in November 2013; and 100 spaces in May 2014).
WinACC Transport Action Group examined BID data about footfall to December 2015 for the two sites where the data is best (The Square and Lower High Street).
Their report finds that the data provides no evidence to support the argument that the closure of Friarsgate car park led to fewer people in Winchester town centre.
Footfall in the High Street has increased considerably and footfall in the Square has remained steady, initially with a marginal reduction at a lower rate than national trends, and then with a recent increase.