Chichester residents respond to calls for them to 'help keep our high street alive'

Chichester's East Street. Photo: Kate Shemilt
Chichester's East Street. Photo: Kate Shemilt

Chichester shoppers have responded to calls from the BID and district council for them to support local businesses.

Following the closure of Real Burger Kitchen (RBK) in South Street on Sunday (June 9) due to the 'continual decline on the foot flow on the high street', Chichester BID pledged to continue helping businesses through ‘challenging times’. Chairman Colin Hicks said: “Each of us needs to ask ourselves, what do we want the future of the high street to look like? If it’s a place where we can continue to browse, socialise and refuel – then we need to take action. We need to support our businesses and help keep our high street alive.”

Chichester District Council also urged people to 'support their local businesses as much as possible'. Read more here
Dozens of people have taken to the Observer Facebook page to share their views.

Dave Hockridge, owner of South Street store Present Surprise, said: "Chichester still has lots of interesting shops to suit all budgets and styles.

"We know the numbers of visitors are down but we can assure you Chichester still has plenty to offer and it's not just coffee shops or restaurants.

"Please continue to come into town and support what you are already doing so well. We for instance, at Present Surprise in South street, have hundreds of unique gift and card ideas and we thank you for your continued support."

Adrian Marden said the the high street is 'suffering through lack of customers'.

He said: "There is only a fixed amount consumers will spend. Years ago they spent it in the high street. Then out of town retail parks became popular and the spend was split. Now we have the internet taking a chunk.

"The simple fact is that less people are shopping on the high street and that makes it difficult for shops to cover their expenses."

Alice Galloway wrote: "We need to replicate Drapers Yard and start growing small, independent businesses by creating a community. We should be investing in this and not more chain restaurants and shops."

Kelly Marie Rawson suggested that the council 'look in the mirror'. She added: "People are buying clothes from supermarkets because that is the cheapest in Chichester."

Tom Richardson wrote: "I can go to one of my two local towns and park for free, 50p for two hours worst case, or I can go to Chichester and need a second mortgage for parking fees. Perhaps Chichester [District] Council should be looking at reducing parking fees to encourage more shoppers?"

Tony Tadd agreed. He said: "Don't blame the public. If the council reduced the parking charges the public will return to shop there!"

Steve Charles suggested: "Chichester needs to reinvent itself and mix the positive of old with the development of new fresh exciting ideas or we will continue to die and nobody wins."

Readers delighted with positive news for the high street

In has not all been doom and gloom for Chichester's high street this week. News broke yesterday (Thursday) that 40-year-old family run East Street business Amoeba Jewellers had been saved from closure after being taken over by new owners. Read more here
Reacting to the news on our Facebook page, Matt Horstead, owner of North Street's Dartagnan Menswear, said it was 'brilliant news'. He added: "Congratulations and good luck from all of us at Dartagnan."

Sharon Bleathman wrote: "The staff are exceptional and so lovely. So nice to hear it will run as normal under a new name . Good luck to you all .

Christine Fisher said: "That is great news. Wishing the new owners lots of luck. I was sad to see the shop emptying."

Teresa Trust wrote: "Excellent news and so pleased for the staff."

You can let us know your thoughts on this week's retails news on our Facebook page.