A ground-breaking Mansfield Business Improvement District (Mansfield BID) initiative to bring free wifi to town centre shoppers, businesses and visitors has been highlighted as best practice in a report into the British high street.
The report, called High Street Performance and Evolution, was written by researchers at Southampton University in conjunction with The Great British High Street and the Economic and Social Research Council.
Researchers reveal how “fundamental” changes to Britain’s “convenience culture” are transforming the way people shop and are bringing new business into towns.
Mansfield features in the report, in a section called Town Centre Management Embracing Online.
It states how the crowd-funded public wifi scheme “is an example of the successful implementation of online platforms as part of the town centre management toolkit”.
Highlighting an interactive town centre map and an app for smartphones, it says: “Reports suggest that, since then, Mansfield town centre has witnessed a 98 per cent increase in website hits along with 10 per cent increase in footfall and 7.4 per cent increase in town centre expenditure.”
Sarah Nelson, manager of Mansfield BID, said: “The BID is here to help businesses and help with initiatives that drive footfall. The wifi project that we delivered is a great example of using modern technologies to help the high street.
“It’s exciting to think that researchers have chosen Mansfield as a trailblazer.”
Angela Parker-Hurst, who runs the I Do Bridal shop in Queen Street, said: “The BID is a tremendous organisation and the wifi is one of the great things it has done for this town.”
Angela uses the wifi as part of everyday business operations, such as internet banking, ordering dresses and letting customers view dresses online.
The Great British High Street is an organisation supported by the Association of Town and City Management and the Department for Communities and Local Government.
For more about the report, visit thegreatbritishhighstreet.co.uk