FAILURE to properly advertise the city centre could see it ‘die on its feet’.
This is the view of one trader who believes the district council and city centre partnership should spend less time worrying about A-boards and more time encouraging people into Chichester.
“Without any kind of real advertising push or intervention to make people want to come here, we’re just getting forgotten and left behind,” said Mandy Rose, owner of the Little Shop of Secrets, in East Street.
“I love Chichester as a place, but the way it’s going I think Chichester dies on its feet unless we’re going to do something radical about reminding people to come here.”
She was giving her take on the continuing removal of A-boards from city streets – a move independent traders claim could bankrupt them.
Angela Parker, owner of Lane’s End cafe, in Jay’s Walk, said she received no reply from the council, despite submitting a petition with scores of signatures asking to keep A-boards.
“It’s been a difficult couple of years and every time the A-board thing flares up, it makes you fear the worst,” she said.
“I’ve never claimed benefits in my life and I certainly don’t want to start now because I’ve gone bankrupt, because I can’t trade, because my A-board has to be removed.”
She said her A-board accounted for 60 per cent of her trade in the summer and were she to lose it, her business would suffer.
“A-boards, as far as we’re concerned, were originally devised to direct people to places they would not otherwise see.”
Owner of Crispin’s Cafe, in East Street, Paul Warriner said: “Trading’s so hard at the moment. I’ve been here 20 years and they’ve always been trying to take them away.”
He added the council were free to put up signs in equally inconvenient places.
A council spokeswoman said 30 A-boards had already been removed and the council was writing to businesses with unauthorised A-boards to remind them to remove them.
Andrew Finnamore, chairman of the Chichester City Centre Partnership (CCCP), said he was ‘disappointed’ with the district council’s response.
City centre manager Kim Long said: “New business signage is being designed for many of the streets which will allow individual shops to have their own listing and these signs will be submitted for planning permission in the spring.”
She said other initiatives, such as fingerposts, were being considered and a licensing scheme for A-boards was being drafted.
“There is a balance between the needs of the businesses to promote themselves and the needs of visitors and shoppers to walk unhindered through our beautiful streets.”