House of Fraser closure: 'We have to see this as an opportunity'

Louise Goldsmith showing her love for the 'beautiful city'
Louise Goldsmith showing her love for the 'beautiful city'

The closure of House of Fraser is a sad moment but a strong Chichester has plenty to look forward to, according to the leader of the county council and chairman of the BID.

Speaking after the closure of West Street's House of Fraser, chairman of Chichester BID (Business Improvement District) Colin Hick and leader of West Sussex County Council, Louise Goldsmith both acknowledged the difficulty of the closure but remained positive and looking to the future.

A sign on the window of the store on Saturday (January 26)

A sign on the window of the store on Saturday (January 26)

Colin Hicks, chairman of Chichester BID (Business Improvement District) said: "No City or town likes to lose an important anchor store and the closure of House of Fraser is a blow. Let alone the many lives disrupted by the large job losses that closures like this mean.

"But Chichester is robust and doing better than most in this difficult period, so I know it will come back from this with new schemes that will still make it a City of fascinating experiences for our many visitors."

Louise Goldsmith said the store had been a ‘cherished feature’ for the high street but wanted to reassure members of the public that the council is looking to find ways to bring people in to towns across the county.

Louise Goldsmith said: “This is a sad moment for Chichester because House of Fraser has been a cherished feature of the high street for many years.

“We know that it’s a very challenging time for retailers and it’s important we support local traders as much as possible. But we have to accept the high street is changing and rather than see this as a problem we must see it as an opportunity.

“West Sussex County Council hosted an event last year, Let’s Talk About our Towns, where we brought together businesses and town leaders from across West Sussex to discuss the issue.

“I want to reassure everyone the county council is working hard with our district and boroughs and other partners to find innovative ways to bring people into town centres right across West Sussex. As I said when I first heard the news about House of Fraser, we must all ensure that whatever follows in the place of the store is an additional draw for people to the beautiful city of Chichester.”