Selsey residents show community spirit and defend their town

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C130017-2 Chi Selsey High Street phot kate''Selsey High Street.C130017-2 ENGSUS00120130701143318

Selsey residents have banded together to defend their town following claims that the High Street is ‘dying on its feet’.

This comes after criticism from residents stating Selsey is a ‘ghost town’ and needs major redevelopment.

Shop owners added that many businesses were ending their leases over concerns for the new Asda supermarket.

Selsey supporter Sharon West responded to the claims. She said: “Asda will not change my shopping habits, I will continue to use the fruit and veg shop, the bakers and one of three thriving butchers in Selsey every week.

“Each one gives a smile and friendly service, and know their customers well. Many of the shopkeepers on the high street also give back to the community with their donations to local charities and schools.”

Karen Pirks agreed. She said: “There’s some fabulous community spirit in Selsey.

“Asda won’t have a curtain design store bespoke to the customer needs, but Asda will provide jobs.

“Things will change but communities have to adapt.”

Nevertheless, in a recent poll asking residents if they think Selsey High Street is ‘dying’, 62 per cent of the 152 voters said ‘yes’.

Ian Page, 65, who has lived in Selsey since 1963, said: “Selsey is dying on its feet, there’s so many empty shops now and no one seems to be doing anything about it.

“When I moved here in 1963 it was a vibrant place, there were lots of different shops. The only thing that’s been built since I’ve been here is houses with absolutely no infrastructure.

“They are talking about spending millions in Chichester, but where is the regeneration for Selsey?”

Despite the empty shops along the High Street, new refurbishment plans are in the making to transform the iconic Selsey Pavilion back into a cinema, and proposals for a new restaurant on the High Street are also on the cards.

Shopkeepers have blamed online shopping, along with the new Asda development, for the ‘ghost town’ feel.

Carrie Knight, owner of Carol’s Interiors on the High Street, said she is planning to sell her shop as it ‘isn’t making money’.

She said: “Supermarkets are doing so much now. Once upon a time you only bought food but now you can get all sorts.

“I think that’s part of the reason for independent stores going out of business, as well as online shopping.”