Retailers across Waverley are hoping to welcome increasing numbers of shoppers, following funding from Waverley Borough Council and town councils for festive activities and town centre decorations.
“Waverley provided extra funding to top-up money already committed by the town councils to make their centres extra festive for visitors this Christmas,” says Councillor Liz Townsend, Waverley Borough Council’s Portfolio Holder for Economic Development.
Supported by the money from Waverley Borough Council, the town councils are working to increase footfall in their high streets between now and Christmas. In Godalming, the town council is funding a Christmas Festival on 26 November when the Christmas lights will be switched on. The money will be used for street entertainers, particularly around parts of the town centre where footfall is often lower. On 2 December, Farncombe will have its own lights switch-on event, also with entertainment, to encourage more visitors to the area.
Haslemere is switching on its Christmas lights on 15 December when there will be late night shopping, with festive stilt walkers including a Snow Queen as part of the street entertainment. Waverley is providing free parking in its Haslemere car parks from 3pm on the 15th. Retailers are joining in with a discount voucher scheme for shoppers and taking part in a seasonal window dressing competition.
Farnham is investing the extra Waverley funding in artistic snow windows, an initiative it began in 2021 and which proved to be an internet sensation. Windows at over 20 shops and town centre businesses will be decorated with unique snowy designs created by specialist company, Snow Windows. A video of last year’s windows in Farnham town centre received over 10 million views online and the town hopes this year’s designs will attract more visitors and shoppers.
Christmas is a vital time for town centre retailers who are keen to encourage consumers through their doors.
“Vibrant, bustling high streets are vital for supporting our communities and our local economy. Money spent locally gets fed back into local services and local jobs for local people. From expert advice from specialist retailers to seeking out unusual or locally made goods, there are lots of reasons to shop in our local high streets,” continues Councillor Townsend. “In order to keep our town and village centres full of great independents and popular chains, we need more people to experience the unique shopping experience they offer,” adds Councillor Townsend.
Waverley has also announced that parking in its Farnham, Cranleigh and Godalming car parks will be free from 3pm on 1 December to encourage shoppers into local high streets.