Fears for trade as Chichester Boardwalk set to close

Reg Chesterman, owner of the store 'Gorgeous' in Chichester - which is set to close at the end of this year
Reg Chesterman, owner of the store 'Gorgeous' in Chichester - which is set to close at the end of this year

PLANS to turn a retail space into housing could impact the city’s economy, according to a business group.

At the end of August, The Boardwalk at Northgate will start to close.

Rumours had circulated it was set to become a boutique hotel, however a planning application has now been submitted to Chichester District Council.

The proposal is to demolish part of The Boardwalk and transform the site into five terraced town houses and two flats, with some retail units.

For one trader, finding another location was not an option. Reg Chesterman is the co-owner of the store Gorgeous. Situated at the end of The Boardwalk, the shop will close at the end of the year.

“The leases aren’t being renewed - that is all we know,” said Mr Chesterman.

“We have had seven good years here and we like this position.

“There is a lot of passing trade, we stand out and we won’t find anywhere better.

“We started at the worst possible time for a shop but we have always been busy so we can’t complain.”

Popular clothing retailer Crew will close on August 31.

Manager Georgie Carruthers said the store had been at the site for some 15 years and still hoped to find a location elsewhere in the city.

“We are sad to leave but it’s a tired store and a bad location so this was a bit of a push in the right direction.

“We want a much larger store because we are popular in Chichester. Customers are quite upset but the closure should only be short term.”

Manuka Wholefoods will be moving at the end of the month to 61 East Street, while Café Paradiso moved to 45 North Street in July.

Classix clothing will open a new store in St Martin’s Lane.

Charlotte Wickins said the Chichester BID was ‘sad’ to see The Boardwalk go.

“These types of premises are havens for independent traders, which are the unique selling point of Chichester.

“Whilst this is fantastic for the night time economy, we feel we need to fight to keep some of our office space going. We are worried about our businesses.”

She added some 35 per cent of high street leases were up for renewal this year, which had ‘created quite a lot of movement’.

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