EMOTIONS were running high this week as supporters launched a petition to bring a Wagamama to South Street, after it was refused by planners.
The application to change the site, currently occupied by Store Twenty One, into a Wagamama was refused as it would present more than 15m of non-retail frontage in the heart of the city.
However, in response, a petition has been set up to bring the chain to the city.
Helen Beal, who started the petition, wrote to the council: “We don’t agree with your decision that this is an inappropriate location and, as residents and visitors in this community, we welcome this addition with open arms, hearts and mouths.”
As of 9am today (January 15) the petition has 555 signatures.
However, many people agreed with the council’s decision, and cited the need for more independent traders to have businesses in the city centre.
Lollo Rosso wrote on Facebook: “Why can’t we see more independent shops? I wish these were encouraged by the council instead of all the large chains.”
In the initial application Wagamama indicated Store Twenty One did not intend to renew its lease at the site, and a spokesman for the store declined to comment.
A spokeswoman for Wagamama said: “Our Facebook page has been inundated with requests asking when we are arriving in Chichester and we also understand that a petition has been started by a member of the general public to combat the council’s decision.
“In light of this, we are looking into lodging an official appeal and, by following the council’s process carefully, we hope to have our restaurant proposal approved.
“We still hold hope of opening in Chichester in 2013.