£45m store scheme in Chichester set to spark jobs boom

A multi-million-pound shopping outlet that would bring dozens of new jobs to the city in its first phase alone has been welcomed by business leaders.

Developers have confirmed the initial £20m stage of the major retail development proposed for former gravel workings at Barnfield Drive would create around 100 new jobs.

A later second phase will bring the total cost to £45m, with some 400 full and part-time jobs in the development as a whole.

“Any investment is good news and that Barnfield site has been talked about for so long,” said Iain Shepherd, executive member at the Chichester Chamber of Commerce and Industry.

“It is not just the jobs that would be created, it would also be the supply chain. I would be very interested to see what mix of businesses would come here.”

This news comes just two weeks after a study from Experian revealed that 940 companies had folded in the city over the past two years.

A final decision on a planning application submitted by the Brookhouse Group for the five-hectare site at Barnfield Drive will be taken by the district council, which owns the land.

If the authority grants planning consent, the council intends to retain the freehold and receive income from ground leases, helping to relieve pressures on its budget.

Last week Chichester City Council’s planning and conservation committee deferred a decision on whether or not to object to the project until more information about traffic issues is available.

Members heard the planning application for the first phase includes three new non-food retail units, together with a landscaped parkland area, cafe, and extension to the Homebase car park.

Phase two, for which an application will be submitted at a later date, features three more retail units, with three restaurants, landscaping, a public square and public open space.