Published Thursday, 14th March 2024

Redhill is bucking the national trend with a significant increase in the number of visitors to the town centre since the official opening of The Rise in July.

Economic and social benefits

Data shows that The Rise, which is welcoming thousands of people every day, is already delivering a range of economic and social benefits for the town, including:

  • footfall is substantially up, going against national trends, with footfall through The Belfry shopping centre up by an average of 20%
  • people are visiting the town more often and staying longer
  • visitors are travelling from a wider catchment area
  • businesses report that trade is up
  • becoming a leisure destination with more than 200.000 visitors to The Light cinema and leisure venue in the first six months since its opening
  • growth in the night-time economy
  • significant positive feedback from visitors to the new facilities, who are telling their friends and family, according to survey feedback
  • 183 new jobs created so far across the various venues

Acting as developer, the Council used its own assets to transform a brownfield site in the heart of the town centre to bring about regeneration and growth. The scheme includes:

  • The Light six-screen cinema and leisure venue with ten-lane bowl, mini golf, climbing arena, karaoke, a restaurant and bar and more - all under one roof.
  • retail and restaurant space with Posadero Lounge - an all-day café bar - and soon to open Creams dessert parlour, as well as a Tesco Express
  • 150 new one- and two-bedroom apartments providing modern, town centre living with excellent transport links
  • public space improvements to the High Street.

Cllr Richard Biggs, Council Leader, is pleased with the positive difference The Rise is making to Redhill: “Since it’s opening last June, it’s fantastic to see The Rise living up to our ambition that the development would be a gamechanger for Redhill, by providing more reasons to visit the town centre.

“A combination of data and survey feedback helps us to see that more people are coming into Redhill from within the borough and further afield than before and are spending longer in the town centre. This is great news for the town’s local economy, from national chains to independent businesses. It is also providing more leisure opportunities that are proving popular with residents.

“I would like to thank local residents and businesses for their support while we delivered this project.”

20% increase in footfall at The Belfry

Footfall through The Belfry shopping centre saw an average 20% increase following the opening of The Light on 16 June to November 2023. Before that, footfall had increased by 9% for the 23-week period January to June (monitored and recorded by MRI Springboard).

Between January and November, the Belfry had 3.3m visitors, which represents a 14% increase on the previous year like for like, which is some 10% ahead of the national average, which saw a 4% increase.

Last Christmas the Belfry experienced their highest visitor numbers since Christmas 2018. From 4-10 December 2023 (week 49) the shopping centre saw an 11% increase in visitors compared to the same week in 2022. The footfall experienced across the U.K. was down -3.9% national average (week 49) in 2023 compared to the previous year.

Siginificant catalyst 

James Morris, CEO at The Light Cinemas, said: “We are delighted that The Light has been a significant catalyst for change in Redhill and it shows what can be achieved with a successful collaboration between the Council, local businesses and The Light.

“Our aim is always to offer cinema and leisure spaces that are genuinely exciting venues, and it’s fantastic to see our offer being embraced by so many people in the immediate area and beyond. We look forward to bringing this winning formula to more towns and cities across the UK as we expand our unique proposition.”

The build took place against a challenging background of the Covid-19 pandemic, Brexit, the Ukraine conflict. Throughout the project, the Council worked with main contractor VINCI UK to provide employment, training, promotion of the local supply chain and assisting local organisations to benefit from grant funding from the VINCI UK Foundation. The Council has since worked with commercial tenants to help them to recruit local staff in a variety of roles.