Residents across the district are being encouraged to shop in the High Street.

Local high streets have so much to offer is the message from Chichester District Council's new Rural Towns Coordinator, Steve Hill.

Steve will be working with local businesses and residents in Midhurst, Petworth and Selsey to build on each town's unique identity.

"Our rural towns want to shout about what they have to offer and we want to make sure that local businesses have the confidence to do this," says Steve Hill, Rural Towns Coordinator at Chichester District Council. "This role is all about building relationships with local businesses to help them promote themselves more effectively."

Part of Steve's role is to make residents aware of the many shops and services they have on their doorstep which will help local businesses attract and maintain a strong customer base.

Steve will also be working with businesses to improve signage in town centres, monitoring vacancy rates and ensuring the shopping areas are attractive.

In Midhurst, foot flow counters are being used to measure activity in different parts of the town to highlight the most popular areas. This will help to identify which events and promotions have attracted the most visitors and what is being most effective.

"All of these towns have thriving high street communities and they are all unique," says Steve. "Selsey has the flavour of the sea and the fishing community, but it also has a bucket and spade atmosphere. Midhurst is quite a funky place. It's got a great cultural element and there are independent shopkeepers there who want to fight for business and do something positive for the town. Petworth has a diverse range of shops including a fantastic place where you can buy new vinyl records and a wonderful bookshop."

Another key focus of Steve's role will be helping to boost local employment in rural towns. Steve will be working in partnership with Chichester District Council's Choose Work programme to help businesses tap into local talent.

"The benefits of our partnership with Choose Work will be two-fold; it will not only boost employment rates in the district but will also mean that local people do not have to travel out of the area to find work," says Steve.

Steve is always open to hearing new ideas and can be contacted on 01243 534752 or emailing shill@chichester.gov.uk