Benchmarking Survey

Otley’s Town Benchmarking Survey 2020 to Present


When assessing how a town is changing over time it’s necessary to measure an array of town metrics to check against.

Otley Town Council and Otley BID have commissioned People & Places to undertake two Town Benchmarking studies:

  1. 2020 Survey : The first review took place following the first Covid-19 Lockdown in August and October 2020, measuring such metrics as car parking spaces, visitor numbers, footfall, current and empty shops and a whole host of other criteria.
  2. 2021 Survey : the second replicated the 2020 review to measure town centre performance, and in particular showed us how the town was coping post the Covid-19 Pandemic. Two waves of evaluation took place, the first in August 2021 and the second due in late October 2021.
  3. 2022 Survey : the third report allows us to really quantify how our work in marketing the town through the Visit Otley and Buy in Otley brands is working.
    • It gives us an understanding of
      • who uses the town
      • what for, and
      • when
    • All businesses can then use this information to inform their own marketing.
    • It also means that when we are looking at projects we can have a clear view of whether they will benefit the business community.  For example, when we decided to support the Otley Lido crowdfunding in 2021 it was because we had evidence that if people visit Wharfemeadows Park then a high percentage will also come into the town centre.
    • One of the proudest achievements to come out of the 2022 Report is when people were asked “Would you recommend a visit to Otley?”:
      • All of those interviewed in Otley would recommend a visit to the town. This is the highest response in UK Benchmarking history (c2008) carried out by our partner People & Places Insights.
      • All of those who attended the Victorian Fayre would recommend a visit.

4. 2023 Survey : the most recent report shows that the business climate in Otley continues to show positive signs of growth despite the prevailing winds of the current recession and the deepening of the cost-of-living crisis. The following key takeaways are:

    • Market day footfall is the highest it’s been since 2020 when we started benchmarking, and well above the market towns average
    • Vacant units are at their lowest point since we started benchmarking and are just fractionally lower than the national average
    • Independents make up ¾ of our high street offer which is 14% above the national average.


Please see below the 4 reports (the most recent appears first) which contains a wealth of information, busts a few myths and gives us the information we need to understand the needs of the town and to shape our plans for the future:

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