New figures have shown that Sidmouth is one of the strongest recovering towns in Devon, according to visitor figures from July. The research shows that Sidmouth, along with Kingsbridge in South Devon were strongest in terms of post Covid recovery after restrictions were lifted. The data indicates that the number of town centre visitors to both Sidmouth and Kingsbridge in July 2022 was almost back to the level of 2019, before the Covid 19 restrictions were brought in.

The data has been released by Place Informatics, which monitors visitor numbers and footfall across the UK. Both Sidmouth and Kingsbridge are featured in the top 5 for the South West area. The reports says that across the UK, May 2022 delivered the strongest recovery against 2019, but figures in July dropped back, which can be attributed to the extreme heatwave, train strikes and the cost of living crisis.

Place Informatics uses mobility location data to calculate visitor behaviour patterns across 2,300 town centres across the UK and all 260 Business Improvement District Town Centres. In the South West, footfall in towns in July was down 7% on average compared to 2019, the same as the UK average.

Clive Hall, CEO of Place Informatics, said: “It is clear the impact of Covid-19 remains an influence on many of our high streets. Town Centres and BIDS focus on footfall figures from 2019 as an important benchmark for the last full trading year.

“There are early signs that recovery in footfall compared to 2019 is starting to plateau for all town centres regardless of size or region.”