‘Charity shops are ruining our trade’

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TRADERS in Crane Street, Chichester, are up in arms because two new charity shops are due to open in the street – in addition to the five already there.

There are 21 units down the street, and traders are worried the ‘excessive’ number of charity shops would give them a ‘monopoly’ on the street.

One Crane Street business, Marlin Kitchens, has been run for 13 years by Lynn Brown and daughter and Michelle Bird, who has recently taken over the running of the shop.

Mrs Brown said: “I have nothing against charity shops. We have a good working relationship with them.

“People look down the road and see no point in going down it as it looks like it’s all charity shops.

“People come to Chichester because it is a town full of small independent businesses.

“The independents are struggling, and our rates are subsiding the charity shops.

“Two more charity shops is going to harm our business.

“Chichester has always been full of small traders.

“We are going to end up like any other city.

“And why does one of the charity shops have two branches in the city – one here and one in South Street?”

Another Crane Street trader, Robert Davies of Ske Services shoe repairs shop, said: “It is becoming ‘charity street’ not Crane Street.

“We’ve been here for 20 years and I would say over the last six years it has got worse.

“It makes the Crane Street project a waste of time.”

He said bringing in two more charity shops would be a ‘crazy idea’.

Owner of Squires cafe, Sue Gyde said: “I think we are a little street of small independent shops and it is so important to keep a really eclectic mix.

“It encourages footfall down here.

“I have nothing against charity shops but I think it would be really good to have other things down here.

“We just want to see people on the road coming here for lots of different things and not just one type of find.”

Various shops down Crane Street will have petitions for customers to sign in their stores against the arrival of two more charity shops.