Over the last few weeks the Forum has been carrying out a brief visitor survey to provide evidence for the Neighbourhood Plan policies. We would like to thank the local businesses that have taken part, especially Forum Jewellers, Budgens and the Post Office. The information gained confirms our own anecdotal evidence but also provides the detail that could be of benefit to all businesses in Broadstone.
The initial analysis shows that the majority of visitors spend less than 30 minutes in the centre of Broadstone and are there for a single purpose, for example, to make a specific purchase such as a newspaper or loaf of bread, post a letter, stop at a cash machine or visit the doctor. This is a reflection of the level of services/retail facilities on offer but it also points to other influences some of which I will refer to later. Those staying for 30 minutes to 1 hour are usually carrying out two or more activities or a single higher level function, for example, visiting the doctor or hairdresser. However the number of people involved diminishes dramatically. There are very few people staying for more than 1 hour.
Not surprisingly the vast majority of visitors to Broadstone travel by car, 170 out of a sample of 226 or 75%. Significantly fewer people walk, yet the vast majority of the visitors to the centre live in Broadstone. It is easy to see why the centre is so dominated by cars, but need it be? It would be in the interest of the retail sector, in particular, if visitors spent more time in the Broadway but before that can happen there has to be a desire/purpose for staying longer. The environment of the Broadway needs to be enhanced. How this may be achieved will be set out in the Neighbourhood Plan, Part 3, Aspirations.
The survey also shows that Broadstone attracts visitors from a wide variety of locations, some as far away as the Wiltshire border. Attracting more people from outside the area is important for the locality. It is a destination centre but has to compete with places like Wimborne, Blandford and Ringwood, and to do so successfully, will need to protect and improve upon what it already has. The risk is, that without an approved plan which the community manages, additional pressures, such as housing need and the economic impact of increased heavy traffic movements from the port will have a negative impact. Indeed the threat is already apparent in the Council’s proposal to replace the crematorium roundabout with traffic lights. If you do not want this to happen then please sign the petition which can be accessed via Broadstone.net website or the Neighbourhood Forum’s website: broadstoneneighbourhood.uk. The petition is open until 13th January.
Happy New Year
Broadstone Neighbourhood forum