Last Chichester business says goodbye to Little London Walk

Whitby's is ready to welcome new customers
Whitby's is ready to welcome new customers

A CAMERA business has set up shop away from Little London Walk after bidding farewell to its home of 33 years.

Chichester’s Whitby’s Photo-Imaging has left its East Street home in the former shopping arcade and moved down the road to Baffins Court.

Owner Mike Repp said he had been sad to say goodbye to its old home, but most of its customers were still finding it.

“We didn’t want to move, but the lease came to an end and they weren’t going to renew the lease as the whole thing was being redeveloped,” he said.

The former home of several independent businesses now stands empty at its East Street frontage, with the rear of the building demolished.

It is planned to be a single-unit building with one large retailer inhabiting it.

At a previous Chichester District Council meeting, Kim Long from the Chichester BID said it was likely to be a TK Maxx store, although the high-street retailer has not confirmed this.

Mr Repp said he had been told owner PMB Holdings hoped to have the building ready by mid-summer.

The demolition work caused problems in November after workmen hit a water pipe, flooding his shop.

“They managed to burst a water main and flood us out,” he said. “They closed us down for four days in November.”

He said it caused substantial damage, but fortunately was covered by the shop’s insurance.

Now set up in Baffins Court, he said everyone was thrilled with the new premises.

“We have 33 years’ worth of customers. Our customers are finding us,” he said.

“We spent a lot of time looking for new premises in East Street, but no site came up so we had to spread a little further and this is what we came up with.”

After all the other businesses moved out of Little London Walk, Whitby’s was allowed to spread across the entire front of the store, formerly the entrance to the walkway.

However, Mr Repp said this had not given them as much space as it looked.

“Although it gave us more frontage, we lost office space so it was a sort of compromise,” he said.

Despite the Baffins Court shop being smaller, it still has the same product ranges, having moved its office to Bognor Regis.

There is currently a planning application pending consideration to demolish and rebuild a section of wall on the site. The wall is listed as it is ‘within the curtilage of a Grade-II-listed property located at 41 East Street’.