Spending up on Church Street as Town Hall hails LTN’s ‘positive impact on retail’

Church Street is one of the borough’s best-known shopping hubs. Photograph: Hackney Council

Spending on a popular Stoke Newington shopping street has risen since the introduction of green traffic measures, according to Town Hall bosses.

Mastercard payments on Church Street went up post-pandemic by more than 200 per cent compared to before the outbreak.

Hackney Council used anonymised bank card data as part of its analysis of the low traffic neighbourhood (LTN) on Church Street, which is known for its choice of independent shops and restaurants.

The LTN was introduced in autumn of 2021 to help with social distancing but also to reduce carbon emissions from motor vehicles as part of the council’s response to the climate emergency.

Some of the spending increase is down to a rise in contactless payments, and also inflation, but Town Hall bosses said it points to economic success and a “positive impact on retail”.

They said studies show that spending goes up when high streets are improved for pedestrians.

Retail giant Amazon told the council that LTNs have encouraged its move towards electric deliveries.

“It’s driving wider change,” said economic development manager Michael Toyer.

Cllr Mete Coban, cabinet member for environment and transport, cautioned that “there will be different impacts for different businesses”.

He said the council is working with Stoke Newington Business Association to find out more about the LTN’s impact on their takings.

He added that moves such as widening pavements, road crossings and parklets for people to enjoy meals and drinks outdoors have helped footfall rise by 18 per cent, with cycling up by 36-39 per cent.

Cllr Coban told the skills, economy and growth scrutiny commission this week that “Church Street is doing very well”.

Coban grew up in Stoke Newington and is now a councillor there, but he said the area was “never that buzzing” during his childhood.