It is the biggest survey the Free Press has carried out for decades, and almost 800 people told us what they think about Bridlington town centre – its problems and the best way to help it to thrive.
Most people (40.8%) said they come to the town centre once a week. But why they do so is unclear.
There was no clear answer, and the most popular answer was ‘other’, which included people who work in the town centre. Banking and food shopping were popular reasons, but it is clear that very few people come to the area to do their clothes shopping.
Bridlington faces a battle to stop shoppers heading out of town. Hull and Scarborough are the most popular locations, with around 28% of people saying they were likely to go there. 17% said they’d go to Driffield, 15% like Beverley’s choice and one in eight people are happy to travel an hour to York to do their shopping.
And the internet is a bigger threat, with almost 88% of local people saying they shop online, and more than a third buying items on their phones and laptops at least once a week.
The two things readers said would make Bridlington more attractive were better shops and more parking.
Almost three-quarters of people said they want to see the former M&S store reopen as a new shop, rather than being converted into housing or a leisure attraction.
Two in five people said they never use the market on King Street, and only 30% are regular shoppers there - visiting once a month or more. For ideas to improve it, the suggestions included holding a regular farmer’s market, selling good-quality local food, or more diverse events such as antiques days or craft fayres.
As a more radical move, some people said it should move to an indoor venue, such as the old M&S, or that King Street could be turned into a covered arcade.
There was more support for Bridlington’s struggling independent shops and cafes. More than three-quarters of people said they like to support them, and comments said customers liked the personal touch and better customer service they receive there. But getting to the town centre remains a problem. As well as the parking issues, 58% of respondents said the public transport system is not good enough, especially in the evenings.
Most people (70%) said they feel safe in the town centre, although several commented that they are more wary in the evenings.
Only 40% said Bridlington is kept clean, and the same number were happy with the number of parks and green spaces.
If shopping in the daytime doesn’t offer enough variety - the problem appears even worse after dark.
Only one in five people think that Bridlington has a good nightlife.
And this question split the public more than any other - do you believe the regeneration work in Hilderthorpe Road and the town centre will make a positive difference to Bridlington? 46% of people have faith but 54% remain sceptical about its impact.