Leeds city centre enjoys bumper footfall weekend: Briggate Leeds - Credit Hannah Webster

22 Sep 2021

Leeds city centre enjoys bumper footfall weekend

Business support City centre Coronavirus

A buzzing city centre saw its highest footfall since the start of the pandemic last weekend as Leeds continued to bounce back from the impact of COVID-19.

Specialist cameras on Briggate, one of the city’s key retail hotspots, recorded a total footfall of 114,242 over the course of Friday, Saturday, and Sunday (September 17-19), marking the famous street’s busiest weekend since March 2020.

On Saturday alone, the cameras captured a total footfall of 48,212, an increase of 42.4 per cent on the same day last year and a rise of 2.6 percent on the same day in pre-pandemic 2019.

Friday and Sunday also saw a total footfall on Briggate of 34,541 and 31,489 respectively.

Kirkgate Market also saw its busiest Friday and Saturday since the start of the pandemic, with a combined 45,476 visitors over the two days. Footfall at the market has been consistently increasing, helped by the market’s summer events programme.

The impressive stats mark a welcome return to more familiar, bustling scenes in Leeds city centre and follow a package of measures put in place earlier this year by the council’s City Centre Management and Visit Leeds teams and partners including Leeds BID, all aimed at supporting businesses and encouraging shoppers and visitors to enjoy the city centre safely.

They included work to improve the cleanliness of the city centre, new on-street teams to welcome people back, and a series of summer events and pop-up activities to encourage families to visit.

There are also now over 100 outdoor street café areas in the city centre, with about 25 per cent more space for outdoor seating in total, compared to pre-pandemic.

Key streets and spaces like Park Row, The Headrow and Cookridge Street have been improved through the Connecting Leeds schemes, all backed by a solid recovery campaign aimed at encouraging visitor confidence.

Advice has been given to businesses to help make sure that older people are safely able to stay as active, independent and connected to their communities as possible.

The council has also paid more than £75m in grants to businesses across the city.

Councillor Jonathan Pryor, Leeds City Council’s executive member for economy, culture and education, said: “Seeing people back enjoying a buzzing Leeds city centre has been an incredibly uplifting sight and it’s a huge boost for all of us who for so long wondered when we’d see our city back to its bustling best.

“It’s also a massive endorsement of the partnership work that has taken place to ensure people could return to the city centre safely and confidently and a testament to the resilience and imagination of our remarkable business community.

“As a city, we can all be proud of the compassion and community spirit we’ve shown to get to this point and if we continue taking care of ourselves and one another, Leeds can come back stronger than ever.”

COVID-19 rates in Leeds from earlier this week showed 281.6 per 100,000 people tested, down 28 per cent from last week. Positivity also reduced by 24 per cent to 7.9 per cent with the over-60s rate down by 27 per cent to 175.1 per 100,000. Hospital admissions and deaths remain stable.

People in Leeds can play their part in helping everyone to continue enjoying the city safely by following the latest advice to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

People are advised to:

  • Let fresh air in if you meet indoors. Meeting outdoors is safer.
  • Wear a face covering in crowded and enclosed spaces where you come into contact with people you do not normally meet.
  • Wash your hands regularly with soap.
  • Get tested and self-isolate if required.
  • If you haven’t already, get vaccinated.

For the latest government guidance, please visit: www.gov.uk/coronavirus


For media enquiries contact:

Leeds City Council Communications team