STALYBRIDGE’S successful Street Feast is to return after a benefit of thousands of people in the area was revealed.
The monthly event, which sees traders set up around Armentieres Square and the Civic Hall, could have been taken off the calendar had the numbers not added up.
But after it was proved it added a four-figure amount to footfall in the town centre, Tameside Council gave the go-ahead to invest some £30,000 for it to be repeated, starting in March.
And discussions will take place over how to make it better before it returns.
The Correspondent can reveal proof of Street Feast’s success had to be provided before the council decided to progress what had been a test event.
And after 3,000 people attended the first event in July, the numbers stayed stable over subsequent events.
Footfall counters installed on Market Street as part of the High Street Heritage Action Zone work show footfall numbers along there at more than 12,000 for the week including the November Street Feast event.
Normally, the numbers for all other weeks in November were about 10,000 per week – and the counters do not take in the area where Street Feast is held.
And as interest grew, a number of town centre shops and businesses stayed open into the evening to benefit from an increase in trade.
A Tameside Council report said: “Stalybridge town centre had a thriving evening economy and the local community have traditionally supported events held in the town.
“This has proven to be the case with the Street Feast which has enjoyed huge success during its six month trial.
“Not only have these events drawn thousands of visitors to the town, there have been significant local economic, social and environmental benefits.
“The Street Feast has shown that events like this have a positive impact on the local businesses and community working together for the overall benefit of the town centre.”
Dukinfield/Stalybridge Councillor Eleanor Wills is responsible for bringing Street Feast to Stalybridge and she revealed she was always confident it would return.
She said: “There was never a concern over how popular and valuable the event is for Stalybridge and Tameside overall.
“However, the event itself has a cost attached and is a new cost pressure so we had to go through the appropriate governance measures to ensure funding was correctly aligned.
“We are meeting to discuss the new plans for the 2022 Street Feast and are excited with the news of the Town of Culture being announced.
“We’re hoping to align with some of that work to make 2022’s offer truly unique.
“I always expected Street Feast to be a success but I was staggered by just how popular it proved to be. The crowds just carried on coming.”
Cllr Allison Gwynne, Tameside Council’s executive member with responsibility for markets, added: “Street Feast has been a remarkable success and I would like to thank all the people who worked hard to make it so popular and put Stalybridge on Greater Manchester’s food and drink map.
“The break in January and February presents us with the perfect opportunity to take stock of what’s happened and consider how we can take the event forward.
“The crowds alone tell us that people enjoyed it and would like it to continue.”