We were commissioned to undertake a Retail and Commercial Leisure Needs Assessment on behalf of Huntingdonshire District Council, to inform the emerging Local Plan to 2036. Located in Cambridgeshire, Huntingdonshire is situated between the sizable urban centres of Cambridge, Peterborough and Bedford.
We analysed the prevailing and anticipated trends across the local leisure and retail sectors, commissioning a household telephone survey of 1,000 local residents to identify current market share patterns and examine retailing expenditure across the region. Performance analysis of each of Huntingdonshire’s four town centres was then undertaken. This included detailed consultation with a number of local stakeholders (including Town Councils, Town Centre Managers, Neighbourhood Trusts and Town Centre Initiative Groups) in order to obtain a clear picture of the issues and concerns affecting local residents and businesses in each centre.
Our assessment of the leisure and retail sectors of Huntingdon, St Neots, St Ives and Ramsey was integral to forecasting the available capacity for new floorspace over the Plan period. Through utilising a flexible Excel model of retail and population expenditure growth, we made a number of key recommendations on how to best apportion the District’s new floorspace capacity amongst the four town centres and the Council’s ‘strategic expansion locations’. In doing so, we successfully supported the Council in finding a solution to support the future viability and vitality of the area’s existing centres.