High street footfall down 6.8% on last year
In the first eight weeks of 2012 footfall dropped by 6.8% on the same period last year. That's around 77,000 fewer people coming into town.
The drop in footfall is certainly being felt by shop owners. Electrical retailer, Barry Jenkins has been trading in King Street for 36 years. He says it's the worst recession he's ever seen and in the past 18 months alone he's had to make 20% of his staff redundant.
"What we're experiencing now is probably the slowest period of trading for a very very long time," he said. "The actual spend, our average spend per customer has gone down quite considerably - down almost at some stages to half of what we were previously doing."
And it's not just the high street that's quiet - the town's markets are feeling the pinch too. One local fishmonger said market business had dropped by as much as 20% in the last five years.
And that's a sentiment reflected by shoppers who cite the recession and the internet for shopping less locally.
Another reason why people aren't spending according to business groups, is a lack of parking. The Town Park took away 380 spaces and the planned police station will get rid of nearly 100 more. The Chamber of Commerce says by allowing it, government is creating barriers to trade.
"I think what irritates retailers is that nobody appears to be listening," said David Warr, President of the Chamber of Commerce. "I think the one man who's listening is the Town Constable Simon Crowcroft, he's starting to get the message about how important it is to get into town. But sadly other departments whose remit isn't directly involved, or directly affected by retailers in town they don't quite understand the severity of the problem."