Selsey High Street is not ‘dying’ but is ‘changing to reflect the shifting needs of the times’, according to the town council.
This statement comes as a response to comments from some residents stating that Selsey is a ‘ghost town’ and is ‘dying on its feet’.
However, Selsey Town Council said that high streets are now in ‘another process of evolution’ and the high streets that stand the test of time will be those that embrace a ‘wider variety of uses’.
A town council spokesperson said: “We are already seeing the emergence of this trend in Selsey – a new trust has been established to re-develop the former cinema into a theatre, with wider aspirations to develop an entire creative quarter in the town, providing much needed diversification for the local economy.
“A recent planning application for the vacant National Westminster bank has detailed plans for redevelopment into a restaurant, and the local voluntary sector is exploring the prospect of creating a community hub to provide a much-needed space for local people to come together.”
Selsey Town Council continued to say the outlook for retail-focused high streets across Britian is ‘challenging’, and Selsey is not unique in many of the issues it is facing.
“Changing shopping habits have had a huge impact on high streets over the past decade, with trends towards online shopping and on demand services putting pressure on small and independent retailers,” a council spokesperson said.
“This is unlikely to change and it is a challenge that affects towns across the UK.”
The town council added that even more popular destinations such as Chichester city centre has faced a decline in footfall, with figures showing there has been a drop of almost 25 per cent in the past ten years.
However, the town council does not believe this means the end to high street shopping.
“It would be easy against this backdrop to assume that all is doom and gloom but it is not the case,” a spokesperson continued.
“High streets across the country are changing and adapting to huge societal changes.
“There are no simple solutions to the problems affecting the UK’s high streets, but there will always remain a place for businesses who provide a good, local, personal service to their customers.
“Selsey High Street is not dying, but it is certainly changing to better reflect the shifting needs of the times.”