A frustrated shopkeeper who said Arundel risked becoming a ‘ghost town’ nearly four years ago has said his prediction has come true.
But this stance has proved controversial. with the head of the Arundel Chamber of Commerce saying such predictions are ‘possibly a little exaggerated at this time’.
Richard Gosling. who owns Arundel Jewellers in High Street, said he called for urgent measures to boost business in December 2013.
Nearly four years on Richard said it may be too late: “The damage has been done unfortunately.”
He has hit out at fellow shop owners whom he said took little action at the time: “I warned them four years ago Arundel will be a ghost town. I hate to say it, I told them so.”
Richard, 65, has run the jewellers in Arundel for nearly 50 years.
He said he has had to watch many staple businesses leave the town, including a chemist and two banks.
“It is soul destroying when you put everything I have put into the shop.
“There are probably three useful shops in the high street, that’s about it.”
Richard said visitors to Arundel often find other shops are closed or are open ‘erratic hours’.
He said the town needs free parking and an A27 bypass.
Ian Fenwick, chairman of the Arundel Chamber of Commerce, said: “There is definitely concern about footfall, but gloom and doom predictions are possibly a little exaggerated at this time, so long as we all work together to promote our town.
“Arundel is amazing and unique, full of first-rate shops, businesses and eateries, just not enough people from outside the area are aware.
“Parking charges could be reduced to encourage visitors – our charges are so much higher than other local towns and villages.
“We should do everything we can to promote our own businesses, especially with the internet and social media.
“It will be a unified synergy in Arundel that provides the greatest chance of success.”