South Scotland

Borders towns see shopper boost

Borders town centres
Image caption Hawick, Kelso, Selkirk and Eyemouth were among the towns which saw a rise in footfall

A town centre footfall study in the Borders has recorded a 6% rise across eight main towns in the region in 2015 compared with the previous year.

Kelso, Galashiels, Peebles, Hawick, Selkirk and Eyemouth saw increases but numbers fell in Duns and Jedburgh.

Figures in Melrose also rose sharply compared with 2014 but exceptionally low levels were recorded that year due to "atrocious weather".

Councillor Stuart Bell said it was "pleasing" to see numbers rising.

A survey has been carried out across the region since 2007.

The latest figures were collected during September and October 2015 with the rise in the region higher than the Scottish average of 2%.

Percentage change in footfall in Borders towns last year compared with 2014
Town Change
Duns -8%
Eyemouth +6%
Galashiels +3%
Hawick +16%
Jedburgh -6%
Kelso +11%
Melrose +259% (figures rose 5% compared with "more representative" 2013 levels)
Peebles +4%
Selkirk +12%

Last year numbers fell by 11% but this was largely blamed on the very low levels recorded in Melrose.

Mr Bell said: "These figures are only ever going to give us a snapshot of a short period of time and can fluctuate depending on weather, however it is pleasing to see that overall average footfall has increased and the figures for several towns are particularly encouraging.

"We need to build on these increases in footfall and the council, partner and community organisations and businesses can all play their part in that, making our town centres as attractive as possible to local shoppers and visitors to the Borders.

"This study started in 2007 and has in effect charted the impact of the recession and increase in internet shopping on our town centres, which largely accounts for the 23% reduction in footfall over that period."

He said the issues were not unique to the Borders and would remain challenges in the longer term.

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