As with many councils, Horsham District Council (DC) had a limited budget for town centre management and yet it needed a reliable system of measurement to ensure it was delivering and facilitating the right events for the town centre and its visitors.
Without a system in place, it was impossible for the town to understand what ‘good’ looked like, a challenge compounded when the Town Centre Management team needed to build the business case for expenditure on the measurement system.
Already aware of Noggin, Horsham Town Centre and Events Manager Garry Mortimer-Cook, welcomed the input of West Sussex County Council with their West Sussex Town Survey, as a portion of county council funding gave Horsham the impetus to put things into place.
We knew Horsham needed a year’s worth of data to get the most value out of it so, as soon as we were given the nod in August 2017, we commissioned a series of footflow counters and started monitoring the data coming through.
As part of a wider county towns initiative, it was vital that Noggin collected data in the other 18 participating towns at the same time, for comparative analysis to be carried out.
As a mid to longer-term initiative, even though the project with Noggin has concluded, Horsham is keen to retain data collection, making use of the Noggin Hub to collate this data and provide analysis & reporting. The participating towns across West Sussex are continuing to compare data and share findings.
Qualification, clarification and confirmation
The value Noggin has delivered to Horsham has been in the substance of the analysis; quantifying events and providing evidence to back-up or challenge suspicions and hearsay:
- Surprises have included the level of footfall generated by certain things, including the night time economy, and data has confirmed supposition about footfall in certain streets.
- The data has confirmed Horsham’s suspicion of the need to put in an event or activity on Sundays, previously driven through car park data but now also through town data.
- Campaigns and trails to move people around the town have been increased and the positive impacts are supported with data
- Real-time counters are helping to monitor the current redevelopment in Horsham and track its effects on foot flow
Overall, the data and analysis backs-up the reasons why businesses should be involved in town centre events and initiatives, which has delivered on the expectations of the Horsham Town Centre Management team.
Noggin & Horsham DC
Horsham DC is keen to continue to take advantage of the more in-depth data analysis services Noggin provides. Every town centre is a hub of the community and must reflect what the community wants to use it for. The Town Centre Management team believes that data opens this dialogue and in the midst of global high street change, this is an essential way of finding and using data.
Horsham DC recently started using Noggin’s new property module & with its feedback is keen to help develop the app further, with rateable floor area & commercial class categories. The app shows voids and patterns in change of use of different types of properties in a town centre.
Garry Mortimer-Cook asks, “What’s next? Forecasting and prediction to influence policy-makers and planners. The app provides an evidence-base to impact on policy decisions to accommodate and not block the natural changes that need to occur/ are occurring in our town centres.”
“Noggin is flexible and uses feedback to improve services and apps”
A few words from Garry Mortimer-Cook, Town Centre and Events Manager at Horsham District Council:
“It’s rare to find someone who knows so much about their subjects and who is interested in working with the towns to make sure we’re delivering what we need – not just what he needs.
“Sven wants data manipulation to be even more useful, with product development being driven by the client – a key feature of Noggin and the service Sven provides. This is a big factor of why I am such a fan of what he does and how he does it. Sven has integrity and is a delight to work with!”