Chesterfield, Derbyshire: The Impact of Covid-19 on Town Catchments

Chesterfield is a market town in Derbyshire, UK, located just south of Sheffield. In 2011 the town had a population of 88,483, making it Derbyshire’s second largest settlement after Derby.

As with many towns and cities across the UK and beyond, restrictions on mobility during the pandemic have brought significant change to how residents and visitors use town centres. Huq’s high-frequency measure of footfall in the urban environment offers a precise, detailed measure of mobility trends within high-streets and urban areas. But the same effect can also be felt beyond.

Our geo-location dataset allows for measurement of both how populations move through centres – and also where they come from. Analysis of these paths allows us to model the centre catchment area. Taking visitors to the area and traversing the data to find where they travelled from, it’s possible to extend out from the centre and define the radius required to capture 50%, 60% or 80% of visitors.

The video above shows the 50% catchment for visitors to Chesterfield town centre, and how that has changed over the course of 2020 in response to the implementation and lifting of movement restrictions.

Change in catchment area size by month
© Huq Industries 2021

Using figures for population by postcode district from the ONS, we can estimate the actual number of people that this catchment represents and how this changes over time. As the chart above shows, the 50% catchment for Chesterfield declined almost 75% in actual terms during the first lockdown in April. Recovery and strong seasonal activity followed through the summer before faltering again with the introduction of tiering systems and second national lockdown.


Huq Industries publishes high-frequency economic data across a range of themes derived from its first-party geo-mobility data. Our first-party, verified and compliant data supports a broad range of applications in financial services, real-estate, and public sector and CPG. Whichever research themes you are following, Huq offers a fast and reliable means to measure business and societal trends with confidence.