Assessing UK Council Performance with Welcome Back Funding

The Welcome Back Fund (WBF) provided UK council funding to help encourage visitors back to high streets and town centres in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic. In this report we ask – how successful was it?

Introduction

Huq helps 50+ UK councils understand how people use their towns, high-streets, parks and spaces. Its measurement platform offers insights into key performance indicators including:

  • How busy places are
  • Where visitors come from
  • How long they stay for
  • How often they come back

Using quality, first party observations and big data practices, these detailed and verified insights are available immediately, UK-wide. No hardware and no surveys required!

The Welcome Back Fund (WBF)

The Welcome Back Fund (WBF) was announced in March 2021 as an extension to the Reopening High Streets Safely Fund (RHSSF). These funds enabled councils to invest in post-Covid recovery and to stimulate economic prosperity, especially through retail and leisure. The implementation period – the period over which councils are required to dispose of WBF funding – ran up until March 31st 2022.

In this report we look back at councils’ performance levels at the time of the Fund’s announcement and compare them to where they ended up in the three months to March 31s. The results are used to rank the best performing councils during the WBF campaign period across four key metrics: footfall, catchment, dwell-time and visit frequency.


Footfall performance

Why is Footfall important? Footfall is the primary metric used by councils, BIDs, retailers and real-estate to measure how many unique visitors are present in the places they manage. One UK council Economic Development Officer even went so far as to say that footfall monitoring is the single most important insight they use to manage places.

How Huq does it: On Huq’s platform, footfall is a count of the actual number of unique people per day present within a measurement area. Each visitor is counted only once each day regardless of where they might have gone within the area, or how many times they visited. Elements of the observation base are filtered out to meet a stricter definition of footfall. For example, static residents do not contribute to the footfall of an area.

🏆 Footfall increase during WBF

Tendring Council, located in Essex at the mouth of the river Thames, takes gold for seeing the greatest increase – 76% – in footfall over the Welcome Back Fund implementation period. That impressive performance is closely followed by Tandridge in Kent with 65% and Cannock Chase, close to Birmingham in the Midlands, at 59%.

Across the top 10 winners, seven are located in the South East of England, two in the Midlands and one in the East of England. Across all councils sampled Huq found there to be a 7% increase in footfall during the WBF implementation period, with those in the top 10 tracking collectively at 40%.

Get the report

Download the full report for free!

Download the report

Dwell-time performance

Why is Dwell-time important? High dwell-time is indicative of strong place performance and is shown to reflect the value of visits made by people to places. Longer visits to high-streets or even stores translates into greater local spending. And this value isn’t only economic. Visitor satisfaction and enjoyment of places can also be measured by this robust and verified means.

How Huq does it: Visit duration is observed for each unique visitor and then averaged over the population, with the result expressed in minutes. Huq’s collection methodology allows for accurate dwell-time measurement for an area. Its unique ID and high frequency of observations enables its platform to accurately measure how long visitors spend there.

🥇 Dwell increase during WBF

Tendring Council, located in Essex at the mouth of the river Thames, takes gold for seeing the greatest increase – 76% – in footfall over the Welcome Back Fund implementation period. That impressive performance is closely followed by Tandridge in Kent with 65% and Cannock Chase, close to Birmingham in the Midlands, at 59%.

Across the top 10 winners, seven are located in the South East of England, two in the Midlands and one in the East of England. Across all councils sampled Huq found there to be a 7% increase in footfall during the WBF implementation period, with those in the top 10 tracking collectively at 40%.


Catchment area performance

Why is Catchment important? Catchment areas represent the dominant locations that visitors to towns, places and centres travel from. Use Catchment Areas to estimate the total addressable market local services based on catchment population. Catchments also provides the link to demographics and the means to characterise visitor populations by income or other attributes.

How Huq does it: Catchment maps use Huq’s classification of visitors’ approximate residential neighbourhoods, and uses that as a reference point to determine the average catchments for places. The same classification allows Huq to cross-reference visitors with authoritative demographic datasets such as the Census in order to inherit their estimated income values.

🙌 Catchment area increase during WBF

Broxbourne Council, located on the River Lea to the north east of London, takes gold for demonstrating the greatest increase – 7% – in catchment size over the Welcome Back Fund implementation period. That performance is followed by Epping Forest at 5.4%, also to the north east of London and West Lindsay, south of the Humber, just behind at 5.1%.

Across the top 10 winners, four are located in the South East, one in London and two in the East of England. Across all councils analysed, Huq found there to be a 0.3% contraction in catchment area size during the Welcome Back Fund implementation period, with those in the top 10 tracking collectively at 3.4%.


Visit frequency performance

Why is Visit Frequency important? Visit Frequency is a monthly measure of how frequently unique visitors return to the place, street or centre you manage. How often visitors return to an area is a key means to measure the attractiveness of places and why people go there. It also offers an important KPI for local spending and economic prosperity.

How Huq does it: Visit Frequency counts the number of different days on which a unique visitor is observed within the measurement area over the course of a month, and is then summarised across all unique visitors using the mean average. The WBF winners based on an increase in catchment size over the period:

🏅 Catchment area increase during WBF

Solihull Council, located just outside Birmingham in the Midlands, leads the list of councils demonstrating the greatest increase – 20% – in visit frequency over the Welcome Back Fund implementation period. That performance is followed by Boston & East Lindsey at 16%, just south of the Humber, and Somerset West and Taunton in the South West also at 16%.

Across the top 10 winners, three are located in the East of England – in the main close to London – two in London and others spread across the UK. Across all councils analysed, Huq found there to be a 9.3% increase in visit frequency during the Welcome Back Fund implementation period, with those in the top 10 tracking collectively at 13.1%.



Wrapping up

Huq has compiled an overall UK council leaderboard by combining the results from footfall, catchment, dwell-time and visit frequency modules during the WBF implementation period. The results are shown using a score from 1-100. The leading council overall is Tendring District Council, with especially strong results in footfall (up 76%, coming first in the list) and dwell-time (up 11%, coming 3rd in the list). Congratulations to Tendring!

And in an interesting twist we have Solihull and Somerset & West Taunton as joint runners up. Solihull demonstrates an impressive increase in footfall – up 35%, coming in 5th – and in visit frequency, up 20% and winning in that list. Somerset & West Taunton wins its place in the top three thanks to a consistently strong performance across all modules with footfall up 20%, dwell up 8% and frequency up 16%.

🚀 WBF overall winners

It’s great to see so many positive results across these councils and further afield, and to consider the positives that these indicators suggest for local communities. Understanding place performance through a range of relevant metrics offers a powerful means for councils to seek, plan and deploy funding for success. It also provides a means to assess the impact of central government funding interventions like the Welcome Back Fund, Levelling Up Fund and many more.


Top 10 Overall UK Council Winners From Welcome Back Funding

The Welcome Back Fund (WBF) provided UK council funding to help encourage visitors back to high streets and town centres in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic. In this report combine results from footfall, dwell-time, catchment and visit frequency to ask – who were the winners all round?

The Welcome Back Fund (WBF)

The Welcome Back Fund (WBF) was announced in March 2021 as an extension to the Reopening High Streets Safely Fund (RHSSF). These funds enabled councils to invest in post-Covid recovery and to stimulate economic prosperity, especially through retail and leisure. The implementation period – the period over which councils are required to dispose of WBF funding – ran up until March 31st 2022.

In this report we look back at councils’ performance levels at the time of the Fund’s announcement and compare them to where they ended up in the three months to March 31s. The results are used to rank the best performing councils during the WBF campaign period across four key metrics: footfall, catchment, dwell-time and visit frequency.


Overall Winners

Huq has compiled an overall UK council leaderboard by combining the results from footfall, catchment, dwell-time and visit frequency modules during the WBF implementation period. The results are shown using a score from 1-100. The leading council overall is Tendring District Council, with especially strong results in footfall (up 76%, coming first in the list) and dwell-time (up 11%, coming 3rd in the list). Congratulations to Tendring!

And in an interesting twist we have Solihull and Somerset & West Taunton as joint runners up. Solihull demonstrates an impressive increase in footfall – up 35%, coming in 5th – and in visit frequency, up 20% and winning in that list. Somerset & West Taunton wins its place in the top three thanks to a consistently strong performance across all modules with footfall up 20%, dwell up 8% and frequency up 16%.

🚀 WBF overall winners

It’s great to see so many positive results across these councils and further afield, and to consider the positives that these indicators suggest for local communities. Understanding place performance through a range of relevant metrics offers a powerful means for councils to seek, plan and deploy funding for success. It also provides a means to assess the impact of central government funding interventions like the Welcome Back Fund, Levelling Up Fund and many more.

Get the report

Download the full report for free!

Download the report

Methodology

Huq helps 50+ UK councils understand how people use their towns, high-streets, parks and spaces. Its measurement platform offers insights into key performance indicators including:

  • How busy places are
  • Where visitors come from
  • How long they stay for
  • How often they come back

Using quality, first party observations and big data practices, these detailed and verified insights are available immediately, UK-wide. No hardware and no surveys required!

👋 Discover our solution for Local Government teams!

Learn more

Top 10 Councils Increasing Catchments with Welcome Back Funding

The Welcome Back Fund (WBF) provided UK council funding to help encourage visitors back to high streets and town centres in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic. In this report rank councils by increases in catchment area size and ask – how successful was it?

The Welcome Back Fund (WBF)

The Welcome Back Fund (WBF) was announced in March 2021 as an extension to the Reopening High Streets Safely Fund (RHSSF). These funds enabled councils to invest in post-Covid recovery and to stimulate economic prosperity, especially through retail and leisure. The implementation period – the period over which councils are required to dispose of WBF funding – ran up until March 31st 2022.

In this report we look back at councils’ performance levels at the time of the Fund’s announcement and compare them to where they ended up in the three months to March 31s. The results are used to rank the best performing councils during the WBF campaign period across four key metrics: footfall, catchment, dwell-time and visit frequency.


Catchment area performance

Why is Catchment important? Catchment areas represent the dominant locations that visitors to towns, places and centres travel from. Use Catchment Areas to estimate the total addressable market local services based on catchment population. Catchments also provides the link to demographics and the means to characterise visitor populations by income or other attributes.

How Huq does it: Catchment maps use Huq’s classification of visitors’ approximate residential neighbourhoods, and uses that as a reference point to determine the average catchments for places. The same classification allows Huq to cross-reference visitors with authoritative demographic datasets such as the Census in order to inherit their estimated income values.

🙌 Catchment area increase during WBF

Broxbourne Council, located on the River Lea to the north east of London, takes gold for demonstrating the greatest increase – 7% – in catchment size over the Welcome Back Fund implementation period. That performance is followed by Epping Forest at 5.4%, also to the north east of London and West Lindsay, south of the Humber, just behind at 5.1%.

Across the top 10 winners, four are located in the South East, one in London and two in the East of England. Across all councils analysed, Huq found there to be a 0.3% contraction in catchment area size during the Welcome Back Fund implementation period, with those in the top 10 tracking collectively at 3.4%.

Get the report

Download the full report for free!

Download the report

Methodology

Huq helps 50+ UK councils understand how people use their towns, high-streets, parks and spaces. Its measurement platform offers insights into key performance indicators including:

  • How busy places are
  • Where visitors come from
  • How long they stay for
  • How often they come back

Using quality, first party observations and big data practices, these detailed and verified insights are available immediately, UK-wide. No hardware and no surveys required!

👋 Discover our solution for Local Government teams!

Learn more

Top 10 Councils Increasing Visit Frequency with Welcome Back Funding

The Welcome Back Fund (WBF) provided UK council funding to help encourage visitors back to high streets and town centres in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic. In this report rank councils by increases in visit frequency and ask – how successful was it?

The Welcome Back Fund (WBF)

The Welcome Back Fund (WBF) was announced in March 2021 as an extension to the Reopening High Streets Safely Fund (RHSSF). These funds enabled councils to invest in post-Covid recovery and to stimulate economic prosperity, especially through retail and leisure. The implementation period – the period over which councils are required to dispose of WBF funding – ran up until March 31st 2022.

In this report we look back at councils’ performance levels at the time of the Fund’s announcement and compare them to where they ended up in the three months to March 31s. The results are used to rank the best performing councils during the WBF campaign period across four key metrics: footfall, catchment, dwell-time and visit frequency.


Visit frequency performance

Why is Visit Frequency important? Visit Frequency is a monthly measure of how frequently unique visitors return to the place, street or centre you manage. How often visitors return to an area is a key means to measure the attractiveness of places and why people go there. It also offers an important KPI for local spending and economic prosperity.

How Huq does it: Visit Frequency counts the number of different days on which a unique visitor is observed within the measurement area over the course of a month, and is then summarised across all unique visitors using the mean average. The WBF winners based on an increase in frequency of visit over the period:

🏅 Visit frequency increase during WBF

Solihull Council, located just outside Birmingham in the Midlands, leads the list of councils demonstrating the greatest increase – 20% – in visit frequency over the Welcome Back Fund implementation period. That performance is followed by Boston & East Lindsey at 16%, just south of the Humber, and Somerset West and Taunton in the South West also at 16%.

Across the top 10 winners, three are located in the East of England – in the main close to London – two in London and others spread across the UK. Across all councils analysed, Huq found there to be a 9.3% increase in visit frequency during the Welcome Back Fund implementation period, with those in the top 10 tracking collectively at 13.1%.

Get the report

Download the full report for free!

Download the report

Methodology

Huq helps 50+ UK councils understand how people use their towns, high-streets, parks and spaces. Its measurement platform offers insights into key performance indicators including:

  • How busy places are
  • Where visitors come from
  • How long they stay for
  • How often they come back

Using quality, first party observations and big data practices, these detailed and verified insights are available immediately, UK-wide. No hardware and no surveys required!

👋 Discover our solution for Local Government teams!

Learn more

Top 10 Councils Increasing Dwell-time with Welcome Back Funding

The Welcome Back Fund (WBF) provided UK council funding to help encourage visitors back to high streets and town centres in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic. In this report rank councils by increases in dwell-time and ask – how successful was it?

The Welcome Back Fund (WBF)

The Welcome Back Fund (WBF) was announced in March 2021 as an extension to the Reopening High Streets Safely Fund (RHSSF). These funds enabled councils to invest in post-Covid recovery and to stimulate economic prosperity, especially through retail and leisure. The implementation period – the period over which councils are required to dispose of WBF funding – ran up until March 31st 2022.

In this report we look back at councils’ performance levels at the time of the Fund’s announcement and compare them to where they ended up in the three months to March 31s. The results are used to rank the best performing councils during the WBF campaign period across four key metrics: footfall, catchment, dwell-time and visit frequency.

Get the report

Download the full report for free!

Download the report

Dwell-time performance

Why is Dwell-time important? High dwell-time is indicative of strong place performance and is shown to reflect the value of visits made by people to places. Longer visits to high-streets or even stores translates into greater local spending. And this value isn’t only economic. Visitor satisfaction and enjoyment of places can also be measured by this robust and verified means.

How Huq does it: Visit duration is observed for each unique visitor and then averaged over the population, with the result expressed in minutes. Huq’s collection methodology allows for accurate dwell-time measurement for an area. Its unique ID and high frequency of observations enables its platform to accurately measure how long visitors spend there.

🥇 Dwell increase during WBF

Rotherham Council, located next to Sheffield in Yorkshire & the Humber, comes first for seeing the greatest increase – 18% – in visit duration over the Welcome Back Fund implementation period. That strong performance is followed by North Kesteven in the East Midlands with 12% and Tendring, in Essex, just behind at 11%.

Across the top 10 winners, half are located in the East of England, two in the North and three in the South East and West. Across all councils analysed, Huq found there to be a 1% increase in dwell-time during the Welcome Back Fund implementation period, with those in the top 10 tracking collectively at 8%.


Methodology

Huq helps 50+ UK councils understand how people use their towns, high-streets, parks and spaces. Its measurement platform offers insights into key performance indicators including:

  • How busy places are
  • Where visitors come from
  • How long they stay for
  • How often they come back

Using quality, first party observations and big data practices, these detailed and verified insights are available immediately, UK-wide. No hardware and no surveys required!

👋 Discover our solution for Local Government teams!

Learn more

Top 10 Councils Increasing Footfall with Welcome Back Funding

The Welcome Back Fund (WBF) provided UK council funding to help encourage visitors back to high streets and town centres in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic. In this report we ask – how successful was it?

The Welcome Back Fund (WBF)

The Welcome Back Fund (WBF) was announced in March 2021 as an extension to the Reopening High Streets Safely Fund (RHSSF). These funds enabled councils to invest in post-Covid recovery and to stimulate economic prosperity, especially through retail and leisure. The implementation period – the period over which councils are required to dispose of WBF funding – ran up until March 31st 2022.

In this report we look back at councils’ performance levels at the time of the Fund’s announcement and compare them to where they ended up in the three months to March 31s. The results are used to rank the best performing councils during the WBF campaign period across four key metrics: footfall, catchment, dwell-time and visit frequency.

Get the report

Download the full report for free!

Download the report

Footfall performance

Why is Footfall important? Footfall is the primary metric used by councils, BIDs, retailers and real-estate to measure how many unique visitors are present in the places they manage. One UK council Economic Development Officer even went so far as to say that footfall monitoring is the single most important insight they use to manage places.

How Huq does it: On Huq’s platform, footfall is a count of the actual number of unique people per day present within a measurement area. Each visitor is counted only once each day regardless of where they might have gone within the area, or how many times they visited. Elements of the observation base are filtered out to meet a stricter definition of footfall. For example, static residents do not contribute to the footfall of an area.

🏆 Footfall increase during WBF

Tendring Council, located in Essex at the mouth of the river Thames, takes gold for seeing the greatest increase – 76% – in footfall over the Welcome Back Fund implementation period. That impressive performance is closely followed by Tandridge in Kent with 65% and Cannock Chase, close to Birmingham in the Midlands, at 59%.

Across the top 10 winners, seven are located in the South East of England, two in the Midlands and one in the East of England. Across all councils sampled Huq found there to be a 7% increase in footfall during the WBF implementation period, with those in the top 10 tracking collectively at 40%.


Methodology

Huq helps 50+ UK councils understand how people use their towns, high-streets, parks and spaces. Its measurement platform offers insights into key performance indicators including:

  • How busy places are
  • Where visitors come from
  • How long they stay for
  • How often they come back

Using quality, first party observations and big data practices, these detailed and verified insights are available immediately, UK-wide. No hardware and no surveys required!

👋 Discover our solution for Local Government teams!

Learn more

Interview with Fraser Willcox, Economic Development Officer at Dacorum

In December 2021, Dacorum Borough Council decided to use Huq’s place monitoring platform to provide coverage of 5 of its towns for Welcome Back Funding (WBF). The modules they selected include Catchment, Dwell, Footfall, Footfall Density and Place Satisfaction.

In this interview, Fraser Willcox – Economic Development Officer – offers his insights into what Dacorum are doing to improve places and communities within the council using Huq’s data.

 Using Mobility Data to Measure the Welcome Back Fund (WBF) Interventions

Dacorum Borough Council had two principal interets in accessing Huq’s place monitoring insights for their centres. Reflecting WBF aims, their first concern was to understand how centres were recovering from Covid-19 and how changes in visitor behaviour compared year-on-year. The second relates to their regular Market Day events, and what Huq’s footfall data suggests about the impact those events have on the local economy.

Which funds have you used the data for?

Dacorum Borough Council procured Huq through the Welcome Back Fund (WBF/ERDF).

What are you analysing/monitoring?

We are currently receiving insight on the following modules: footfall, dwell, density, catchment, satisfaction and visitor frequency. We receive quarterly reports from our Customer Success Manager at Huq, and in our first report we examined three key questions; how have our locations recovered from the pandemic, how has the way people use our spaces changed year on year and how are our market days performing?

What did you learn?

Hemel Hempstead is the largest town within the borough of Dacorum. With regards to footfall, we found that the town centre has shown good signs of pandemic recovery, with an increase from 2020-2021. Footfall for 2022 is 100% when compared with the same period in 2021, although still only 50% compared with the same period pre-pandemic.

Although footfall fell during the pandemic, average dwell time had a slight increase of 2% during Covid measures and has increased by a further 16% in the new normal, indicating that people are spending on average 16 minutes or longer in the area per visit.

The catchment module allows us to see the 20%, 50% and 80% catchment areas for our chosen areas and monitor how this changes over time. Data has shown us that the 20% localised catchment area for Hemel Hempstead in 2021 was smaller than it was 2020, excluding areas such as Bovingdon and Kings Langley in the south. This reduction in catchment size indicated that a larger proportion of footfall was coming from the more immediate area. The 20% catchment area for 2022 saw an increase compared to 2021, returning to a similar area of that in 2020.

2019 satisfaction data showed that while Hemel has a strong retail focus, essential and non-essential retail was still taking place within Hemel only 32%-37% of the time. 2020 saw a dramatic increase in essential retail activity of around 17%, with non-essential retail also increasing by 18%. This change is likely due to an increased tendency to shop local and travel less during the pandemic. 2021 continued in a similar fashion, and 2022 to date has seen an increase in essential retail activity and use of public services.

Between July 2021 and April 2022 there was an average of 3 visits to Hemel town centre for each visitor. In November 2021, there was an increase in average visit frequency, potentially linked to the approaching Christmas period. Average visit duration has been increasing slightly as we progress throughout 2022.

Which actions did you take?

So far, the data has been helpful in qualifying the success of some of the larger town centre events. Like the rest of the country, Hemel Hempstead recently celebrated the Queens Platinum Jubilee, where we had a day of activity in a central park adjacent to one of our high streets. Coinciding with the ‘Party in the Park’, footfall in Old Town High Street on Thursday 2nd June 2022 was 149% up from the average Thursday from the previous month. Similarly, footfall in Hemel Hempstead Town Centre was up 224% on the same day when compared with the previous month.

What's next for the Council?

Over the past year we’ve been listening to businesses and residents from across the area to help us develop a forward looking and compelling story for Hemel Hempstead.

We’re doing this so that together we can put the place on the map, highlight the great things that make us special and the opportunities we offer to attract investment, create jobs and attract funding from Government. Alongside the views and opinions of those in the area, the data will help us to make informed decisions on next steps to take in order to achieve the above.


Evidence to make informed decisions

Now that Dacorum Borough Council has access to reliable data insights it is better placed to understand the community it serves.

The data will help us to make informed decisions how we can put Dacorum on the map, create jobs and attract funding from Government.”



How Hertsmere Used Evidence to Measure Covid-19 Recovery

Hertsmere is the gateway to south Hertfordshire, lying across the M25 and M1 in the East of England. The Borough is largely rural, but boasts beautiful market towns and has great transport links. The council began using Huq’s place monitoring insights in June 2021 at the time when the country was coming out of the Covid-19 pandemic.

The Challenge

Hertsmere Borough Council was keen to understand how pedestrians use their local high streets, and more particularly how these places were affected by the pandemic.

We know anecdotally how our local towns have fared, but without factual evidence we had no basis on which to make decisions,” says Lesley Crisp, Principal Economic Development Officer at Hertsmere. “We had one undersubscribed survey on market performance and nothing around the town centre – so we were delighted to find that CommunityVision could supply real insights to give us the evidence we need.


The Solution

Huq’s Customer Success Manager Gemma Mariotti worked with Lesley to identify the key information that would help the Council. They agreed to focus on Hertsmere’s four main town centres:

  • Borehamwood
  • Bushey Heath
  • Potters Bar
  • Radlett

Hertsmere wanted mobility data insights to answer three key questions:

How is footfall in these four town centres recovering from the pandemic?

What are our dominant catchment areas for each town centre?

Do market days in Borehamwood have an effect on footfall in the town centre?

Huq’s place monitoring platform offers a range of modules designed to deliver mobility insights capturing how and when people use the chosen places. Using Footfall and Catchment Area Map modules, Huq provided Hertsmere with the data they needed.


Evidence answers Hertsmere’s questions

#1 How is footfall recovering from the pandemic?

Huq’s unique cloud-based platform provides historic and near-live mobility data insights which allow Hertsmere to overlay graphs tracking footfall across 2019, 2020 and 2021. These insights show clear trends in town centre recovery – including, for Bushey Heath, a dramatic increase in footfall over November and December compared to pre-pandemic levels.

#2 What are the dominant catchment areas for each town centre?

Huq’s insight platform offers catchment area maps, which represent the dominant area that town centre visitors travel from – and rarely constitutes a simple radius. The Council was able to compare Catchment Areas at different times, showing a significant increase in Radlett’s catchment area over Christmas – possibly due to key draws such as the theatre, specialist essential retail shops and a large restaurant area.

#3 Do market days in Borehamwood have a positive or negative effect on footfall?

Hertsmere used Huq insights to compare footfall on market days to other days, to identify whether they have an impact on when and how people use the towns. By comparing market days on Tuesdays and Saturdays to the Borehamwood footfall baseline (marked as 100%), we can look for patterns in the data suggesting a correlation between them. In this case, the uplift in footfall associated with market days was not significantly higher than normal.


Evidence is crucial for the Council

Now that Hertsmere Borough Council has access to reliable data insights it is better placed to understand the community it serves.

CommunityVision will help us to make smarter, evidence-led decisions,” says Lesley. “My team will be using the data insights to set targets and monitor change – and we will no longer need to pester pedestrians to answer surveys!”



Interview with Lesley Crisp, Principal Economic Development Officer at Hertsmere

Hertsmere Borough Council selected Huq to provide monitoring coverage of four of its towns in June 2021. Prior to this, the council had never had a systematic monitoring solution in place. Instead they had relied on surveys carried out at intervals in different locations.

Our second year with Huq’s platform

Hertsmere Borough Council was keen to understand how pedestrians use their local high streets, and more particularly how these places were affected by the pandemic.

Which funds have you used the data for?

We used insight from Huq’s place monitoring platform as an evidence base to plan, implement and measure the impact of changes made using Welcome Back (WBF) and Shared Prosperity (SPF) funding.

Which modules did you decide to use?

We used Catchment areas to learn where people come from, Footfall to know how many, and Hourly Footfall to see when.

What were your main measurement aims?

When we started using Huq’s platform we where keen to study three specific areas.
For some time we had been running Market Days in our borough. We wanted to see whether attendance had recovered post-Covid. Similarly, we were aware that our Town Centres had suffered badly during that period. How quickly were people coming back? The same interest applied to the Night Time economy as well.

What did you learn from the insights?

We analysed four years worth of data to establish a pre-pandemic benchmark (how events performed before the pandemic). Compared to that baseline, footfall and hourly footfall data showed only a minimal uplift on the days and hours that the markets ran.

We then looked at how market days performed as restrictions eased while the country came out of lockdown. We saw no change to the performance of our Town Centre on market specific days based on footfall data.

Market Days averaged 7% below a normal day in 2022! Our hourly metrics also show the majority of Town Centre footfall occurred outside of the hours of the market day meaning the market had little to no effect in that period.

One a separate note, we wanted to improve the Night Time economy! Fridays and Saturdays showed a decrease in performance during the pandemic (as expected), in the ‘new normal’ we are starting to see improvements in our nighttime economy above the levels of prepandemic.

We are monitoring this moving forwards to create a more complete sample size to concretely understand if it is improving.

Making the case for change

Borehamwood market will be closing in August – we know the market days haven’t been successful, we truly understand to what extend this is the case with Huq’s data but we also had a feeling based on what our feedback was. Now we can invest our resources into other activities where demand is greater.

What's next for the Council?

Sky Studios is coming to Borehamwood in the Summer of 2022. We can’t wait to see the impact that this has on the local economy and small independent businesses as new workers and residents come to the area (along with the occasional celebrity!).

The UK Shared Prosperity Fund (UKSPF) deadline is also just around the corner, with funding to continue the work that we are doing across Hertsmere to make it a greener, cleaner and more vibrant place.

Huq’s place monitoring data remains an important asset for us as we plan, action and measure the effects of our interventions. And with growing emphasis on evidence-based choices we’re certain that role will grow.


Evidence is crucial for the Council

Now that Hertsmere Borough Council has access to reliable data insights it is better placed to understand the community it serves.

CommunityVision will help us to make smarter, evidence-led decisions,” says Lesley. “My team will be using the data insights to set targets and monitor change – and we will no longer need to pester pedestrians to answer surveys!”



Inverse Catchment

Inverse Catchment

Do you know your town's rivals?

Discover the places that local residents visit and consider why they go there. Use Inverse Catchment to find opportunities to improve your local offering.

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Where residents go is a valuable means to track our town's performance.

- Senior Regeneration Manager,
City Council

INSTANT MONITORING

What is Inverse Catchment?

Inverse Catchment shows where the majority of residents leaving your town travel to when they're going elsewhere.

Why use it?

Different places have different qualities and often that's how they differentiate. Yours might be great for leisure. Another for working. Learn where else residents travel to to assess what's missing in your area. Explore how that differs between catchment sizes and demographic groups.

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Inverse Catchment

Module Features

Download Factsheet
  • Inverse catchment maps
  • 20, 50 and 80th percentiles
  • Income demographic filters
  • Monthly reporting cycle
  • 4+ years' history
  • Granular date filters
  • Available for any town or centre
  • Multiple centres supported
  • Compare with multiple layers
  • Export data as CSV
  • Download live reports as PDF
  • Hardware free solution
  • Instant monitoring
  • Full nationwide coverage
  • Data accuracy validated
  • Training & support included
  • Year-on-year comparisons
  • Used by 50+ UK councils

"Which other towns do residents travel to?

Economic Development Officer, County Council

"How do weekday / weekend distances compare?

Night-time Economy Manager, Borough Council

"What's the mobility gap across social groups?

Levelling Up Manager, District Council

No hardware. Instant setup. History included out of the box.

Weekly Updates

Monitor performance across the places and centres you manage in near real-time. Use high-frequency insights to plan and react at pace.

4yrs History

Huq provides up to 4yrs of monitoring history for every new location out of the box, making annual comparisons fast and easy.

Instant Setup

Get access to Huq's monitoring platform today! Instant setup. No hardware, cameras or any other infrastructure needed.

UK Coverage

All Huq's place monitoring products are available for any location in the UK and beyond. Any place, any size, anywhere - country wide.

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CUSTOMER SUCCESS

One-to-one customer success support built in

Huq's unique Customer Success offering provides hands-on training and support in reports creation for each and every one of its customers. Learn to interpret, visualise and talk about your data!

  • Hands-on user training
  • Custom report building
  • Expert advice & support
About Customer Success