The council's Cabinet has agreed that suitable properties owned by Chichester District Council could be used as part of a 'pop up shop' initiative.

Once developed, this scheme will identify suitable vacant premises and set them up as affordable temporary spaces, giving smaller businesses and enterprises the opportunity to trade in a high street location without the commitment or cost of a longer term lease.

"We're really pleased that this new scheme can now be developed," says Cllr Eileen Lintill, Leader of Chichester District Council. "As a council, we are committed to supporting our High Streets. As part of this, we have to consider a variety of things, including changing customer needs and expectations, and the barriers that smaller businesses face when trying to find affordable retail space in a prime location. Pop up shops, which return empty units to retail use, are becoming a very popular and effective way of meeting these needs."

Pop up shops offer a range of benefits, and the council's scheme aims to:

  • provide affordable retail space for independent and start-up businesses;
  • draw in new customers and trade;
  • enhance the appearance of retail areas;
  • help meet the aims of the Chichester Vision by improving choice and offering more opportunities for independent shops; and,
  • establish a scheme, which could be shared with private landlords and encourage them to make the most of empty shops in a similar way.

Cllr Lintill adds: "What's important for people to understand is that as a council we don't control the business rates; set rental rates; own all of the shops; or decide which businesses come into Chichester. Instead, we are looking at other ways we can support the High Street.

"This new initiative is just one of many ways in which the council has been proactively supporting local businesses and the High Street through a variety of schemes, grants and projects. These include: a business support contact scheme, enabling grants scheme, retail mentoring and shop front grants scheme, the development of an events strategy, improvements to our parks and gardens, improvements to the city centre public conveniences, and the introduction of MiPermit to make it easier for people to stay longer in the city.

"As part of the Chichester Vision process we are also working with partners to further increase the events and attractions within the city. We also have a dedicated Economic Development team, who directly support small businesses.

"We are very lucky in that we have an incredible array of shops and businesses — we're keen to celebrate this and shine a light on what our city and towns have to offer."

Date of release: 3 September 2019

Reference: 3921