THE remaining traders of Little London Walk are staying put – despite the owner getting approval to transform the site into a single unit.
Plans to turn Little London Walk into one store were granted by Chichester District Council – but the four traders left in the precinct will stay until 2019/20.
It emerged at the committee meeting the owner wouldn’t have to seek planning permission to knock the precinct through and turn it into a single outlet.
However, the it had submitted plans for the ‘partial demolition’ of the site and an extension to create a mezzanine level.
But despite getting the planning permission, there are still four traders in the precinct who have long-term leases – and they want to stay.
Owners of Zig Zag and Cake Fayre, Lin Stearn and Jean Ainger, were at the committee meeting, and said: “They can’t do anything until the end of our leases. The landlord can’t develop until 2019/20.
“We plan to carry on trading until then.”
Camera shop Whitby’s and cafe Chives also hold long-term leases until 2020.
The owner of the 19-unit precinct, is keen to clear the building in order to lease it to a high-street chain.
At the committee meeting, Julian Carter, an agent for the applicant said: “Little London Walk as it stands is not viable going forward.”
He also claimed the new high street store could create 50 jobs.
But councillor Quentin Cox, sitting on the committee, asked how many jobs would be lost from the independents.
“How many jobs will you lose? It will be 30 or 40 jobs?” he said.
The plans to turn the precinct into a single unit sparked a petition which nearly 800 people signed to save the site as a hub for small independent businesses.
But the council, which can only assess applications on planning grounds, didn’t find any faults with the plans.
Johnny de Lisle, director of PMB Holdings, said: “Those of your readers who have followed the story will know that we have worked hard to find the best way of revitalising the building to encourage more shoppers in and provide jobs.
“This planning decision has secured a positive future for Little London that will help regenerate this part of East Street and boost Chichester as a shopping destination.”
Now planning permission has been granted, the future of the site is unclear.
If the traders remain on the site, as they propose to, it is likely the owners PMB Holdings will have to reapply for planning permission.