The way is now clear for a leading high-profile restaurant chain to move into Chichester’s Butter Market.
This follows a decision by the district council to grant listed building consent for a new staircase in one of the ground floor units in the grade II listed property.
Bill’s Cafe, Restaurant and Store had submitted the application for consent to link unit three, on the ground floor, to the first floor with the staircase.
The decision opens the way for both Bill’s, the city council’s development partner, Orion (Southern) Ltd, and the city council itself – which still owns the Butter Market – to move towards signing a deal under which Bill’s will take unit three on the ground floor and the first floor.
Bill’s had said any developments in the unit, which is around 3,350 square feet, could not take place until the listed building application had been approved.
The chain has seven branches trading in the UK, in locations including Brighton, Covent Garden and Lewes.
The Butter Market, in North Street, was completely refurbished before reopening in April, 2011. It is already home to other businesses including Patisserie Valerie and G H Pressley Jewellers.
Bill’s was founded by Bill Collison of Lewes, who opened his first store there in 2001 following the floods in Lewes in 2000.
Although the arrival of Bill’s rests with final touches being put to legal documents, if the deal does go ahead it will mean the whole of the imposing building is let, giving a big lift to North Street and the city centre in general.
The Butter Market was designed by architect John Nash and built in 1808.
Town clerk Rodney Duggua said ‘Letting the upper floor of the Butter Market was never going to be a overnight job, especially in the tough commercial trading conditions facing retailers.
“However, all parties remain hopeful the negotiations on the lease can be concluded with expedition and that Bill’s can be welcomed to both Chichester and the Butter Market.”
What do you think?
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