FOOTFALL figures in York city centre cannot be trusted because three of the four cameras used to record visitor numbers are not working, according to a business-led partnership.

York Bid said it has stopped circulating footfall figures in the run-up to Christmas, as the numbers are inaccurate due to the cameras apparently being out of action.

The Press reported in October that York’s struggling high street has suffered a further blow after it emerged that footfall in the city centre in the last nine months has plummeted by more than 750,000 visits.

Data collated by City of York Council and York Bid revealed that just over 18.5 million people entered the city centre between January and September this year – down by 765,786 compared to the same period last year.

The footfall figures are compiled every week by retail data company Springboard, on behalf of the council, and indicate the city’s economic prosperity.

But now York Bid has called these figures into question after suggesting that three of the cameras are not working.

The organisation said: “The Bid is not circulating footfall information at this point.

“It understands that in the lead-up to the 2019 festive trading period, three out of the four footfall cameras located in the city have not been operational.

“For this reason, the Bid does not believe the footfall estimates that Springboard is currently reporting on give an accurate understanding of this year’s Christmas footfall, and is not comparable to previous years."

The organisation added that it was seeking clarification from the council about how long the cameras had been down.

It is understood that the Coney Street and the Stonegate cameras are out of action, while the camera in Parliament Street had been down for several weeks but is now back in operation. Meanwhile, the camera in Micklegate has been working continuously.

The most recent figures, for the week running from December 2-8, show footfall in York city centre is down 10.3 per cent on the same week in 2018.

Phil Pinder, chair of the York Retail Forum, said: “This is a key time for city centre retailers, and so it is disappointing to learn that this essential source of data cannot be trusted.

“How can we plan for our High Street if we cannot analyse shopping trends at the busiest time of the year?”

City of York Council director for economy and place, Neil Ferris, said: “We are working to relocate several footfall cameras in the city centre to improve the reliability of the data. Whilst this is taking place footfall figures will be based on estimates using computer modelling based on the available and reliable data from the independent provider. In this important period in the run-up to Christmas, we are exploring options to verify the computer modelled figures. This will give a more robust analysis for city retailers.”