DONCASTER is to introduce shopping mall-style shopping maps to try to boost retail in the town centre by pulling in shoppers from other towns and cities.
The maps will show clusters of shops rather than individual stores and is part of a bid by bosses at Doncaster Council to try to improve the trading conditions for town centre shops in the face of the current recession.
They are due to be launched later in the summer, Mayor Peter Davies has confirmed.
He said the maps would help encourage tourists to use the hundreds of shops in the town centre.
Mr Davies said: “The money we’ve spent improving the markets is about £150,000 to act as a catalyst for improvement in the town centre.
“Clearly what we have done has had an impact, but we don’t want to stand still. We want more people to come to Doncaster and sample the site range of shops and market stalls we’ve got to offer.”
“This is not something that I’m aware of having been done in Doncaster before.”
Doncaster town centre manager Roy Dean said he believed it was important to put in measures to support town centre retailers.
He said: “The maps have now been designed and will be launched at some point.
“We launched a guide for the markets last year, showing the markets are and that was successful. We printed 750,000 and the were picked up far and wide.
“With the new maps we are looking at extending that to show the wealth of shopping in Doncaster. We are looking at them coming out in late July.
“Doncaster is a very strong retail centre. There are over 700 shops in the town centre, and 60 per cent of those are independent, which his very attractive, and can be quite a force to be reckoned with.”
The maps are being designed to try to appeal to shoppers from a 50 mile radius from the centre of Doncaster.
Organisers are aiming to appeal to shoppers from the whole of South Yorkshire, as well as parts of West Yorkshire, North Yorkshire, Derbyshire, Nottinghamshire and Lincolnshire.
It is also hoped the scheme could make the borough more attractive compared to out-of-town centres.
The maps will show types of shops and the council aims to produce a ‘significant number’ of them.
Bosses hope they will do a similar job to the directories at Meadowhall, but on a different scale.
Doncaster Market Traders Federation committee member Nigel Berry backed the plans.
He said: “I think it will help, and could be really good. Anything that promotes the town has to be welcomed.
“I don’t think it is unrealistic to hope to bring in people from 50 miles away. We already get coach parties from a long way away to visit the market, and I hope this could bring them in from a wider area.”