An independent retailer has come forward to express the struggles and frustrations that come with running a small business amid the magnitude of chain restaurants and cafes appearing in Chichester’s City Centre.
Gillian Warriner and her husband Paul have owned Crispins cafe on East Street for 23 years.
In that time, she states that she has ‘never seen such a saturation of coffee chains and restaurants’ in the city.
She continued: “I, along with many of our customers, am totally sick and tired of how many chain cafes and restaurants are being allowed to open in the town at the expense of individual shops that Chichester has always been famous for.
“Soon there will be nothing to come to Chichester for, other than same old same old coffee, pizza, pasta and burgers – there will be no individuality.”
Chichester has recently seen an EAT. and a Pret a Manger open in the city centre, while independent shop Present Days has just announced it will be closing at the end of this month.
“There is only so much eating and drinking people can do,” added Gillian.
“Other city’s fight to keep the chains out to keep their character, why aren’t the planners doing the same here?
“I am not adverse to a bit of competition but it is becoming a struggle to do business.”
A spokesperson from Chichester District Council said: “We have policies that aim to control the mix of shops, restaurants and cafes within the city.
“We are also able to determine the look and feel of the centre through the control of signage.
“However, our planning policies cannot control which businesses take over the buildings.”
They added: “We are keen to see a mix of businesses within the centre, including independent businesses, for which Chichester is renowned.
“However, it is the landlords of the shops who determine which businesses come into the centre and this can sometimes be influenced by the rates that they set.”