How hungerford compares

on 03 October 2013.

How does Hungerford compare with similar sized towns across the country? What are its strengths and weaknesses, what is it that people love about Hungerford and what are they not so keen on? What are the major key facts and opinions which could guide the policy and decision makers of our town?

Hungerford Townsite has been given early access to the findings of an extensive research exercise commissioned by Hungerford Town Team which studied Hungerford, gathered opinions and facts and measured the findings with other comparable towns.

During the summer, Action for Market Towns, an organisation which specialises in town ‘benchmarking’ collected a vast amount of information and data aboutbenchmarking2 Hungerford to provide an insight into how Hungerford, as a town centre, is performing.

So, how are we doing?

Of course, the location and physical appearance of Hungerford are seen to be hugely positive. 75% of the more than 2000 interviewed felt that the town’s geographic location is in its favour as a town to live in and to visit and a massive majority – 91% believe that the town’s charming good looks are one of its greatest assets and should be valued. Perhaps that is why 92% of us rated highly the cleanliness of the town.

Our feel-good factor about our town beats averages from other similarly sized towns by a proud 16%.

That optimism is reflected by many of the towns businesses too – 45% of respondents in a Business Confidence Survey reported an increase in turnover in the last twelve months and 60% expect their business to increase over the next twelve months – that is 23% above the national small towns average. This confidence is supported by there being only 2% of ground floor units being vacant in the town; considerably better than a national small tons average of 8%.

But translating turnover to profitability shows a different picture -0 42% of businesses stated that their profits had decreased over the last twelve months. Competition from other shopping places was seen by 56% of traders as a possible cause for this drop in profits whilst 50% also thought that challenges from the internet were affecting their profitability.

Evidently, Hungerford is not a town which attracts misers. Town centre users spend between £20 and £50 per visit – that’s around 20% ahead of similar towns. The majority of town centre users come here by car – 62% drive into town which is 10% more than average and over 30% of those visitors come from more than 30 minute’s drive away which is 24% above the norm.

And that suggests a more popular negative comment – car parking. A ‘market day audit’ revealed that only 4% of all available car parking was vacant – the lowest ever recorded in such a comparative town survey.

In fact 48% of town centre users interviewed saw Hungerford town car parking as a negative and car parking was the leading suggestion from town centre users about improvements which could be made to the town. However, dissatisfaction about parking is only 8% higher than the national small towns average.

benchmarking3Despite the demand for car parking, footfall in Hungerford town centre is lower that regional and national averages in similar towns. Market day sees 103 persons per 10 minutes – well below the 177 count in over 200 comparable towns. Non market day is even lower – only 71 people are to be counted in 10 minutes whilst other towns attract an average of 88.

Described by Action for Market Towns interviewers as ‘a large swathe’ – the majority of town centre visitors’ comments – apart from parking – highlighted the need to improve or extend restaurants and cafes in the town centre area.

Hungerford Townsite is gathering reactions and opinions resulting from these town benchmarking findings – if you have a view, comment or suggestion please let us know by using the CONTACT US section. If your comments exceed 500 words, please email us at:

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We will publish more of the benchmarking findings and also feature your comments as they come in.

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