BOURNEMOUTH saw the largest decrease in footfall in September, according to new data.

Research from Centre for Cities, in partnership with Nationwide, shows that Bournemouth saw a 31 per cent decrease in footfall in September.

The town also had a 46 per cent drop in spending in the town last month.

It comes after Bournemouth’s footfall figures in August exceeded that of pre-lockdown levels.

This September, the town was still up on the pre-lockdown level, with 102 per cent of the pre-lockdown average.

The drop could be due to a number of factors, such as the end of the Eat Out to Help Out scheme and the end of summer.

Furthermore, the persistently low numbers of people going back to work in city and town centres reinforces the concerns for the future of shops, cafes, restaurants and bars that depend on office workers for custom.

Centre for Cities’ chief executive Andrew Carter said: “Many places in the UK benefited from the good weather, Eat Out to Help Out and domestic holiday makers.

“But it’s clear that this was a seasonal boom and with winter approaching, Covid cases rising and the prospect of more local lockdowns, policy makers need to think hard about how to support places through the difficult months ahead.

“There is a still risk that many of the local amenities that many of us have made use of this summer could be lost in the months ahead. So, I'd like to see the Chancellor set out how he proposes to protect these for us to enjoy once again when it is once again safe to do so.”

The Chairman of Bournemouth Town Centre BID, Martin Davies, said Bournemouth had been one of the top recovery towns after lockdown due mainly to its huge popularity as a seaside resort.

He added: “So it’s not a great surprise that as one of the principal staycation and day trip destinations, Bournemouth saw quite a drop in September compared with August.

“Much of the hospitality sector, which makes such a huge contribution to the local economy, falls within the Coastal BID area, including many of the hotels and the seafront businesses.”

Mr Davies said: “Bournemouth still remains in the top ten of towns and cities in terms of pre-lockdown footfall numbers.

“Footfall is still an important metric but so are issues such as the amount of time people spend in our town centres and that they feel it is safe to come back. Our experience so far is that they do have that confidence.”