The scheme, which makes use of vacant properties owned by the council, provides affordable temporary premises. This means that smaller enterprises and start-up businesses will have the opportunity to trial business concepts and trade in a high street location without the commitment or cost of a longer-term lease.

Two properties on Crane Street in Chichester City Centre are the first to become available as part of this initiative.

 

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.

"We're pleased to launch this exciting initiative. Not only will it help local entrepreneurs to trade in the district, but it will also support our High Streets by getting vacant shops back into business," says Councillor Martyn Bell, Cabinet Member for Growth, Place, and Regeneration. "As a council, we are committed to supporting our High Streets and local businesses, and to do this, we need to consider a variety of things, including changing customer needs and expectations as well as the barriers that smaller businesses face when trying to find affordable retail space in a prime location. Pop up shops are becoming a very popular and effective way of meeting these needs.

"What's important to remember is that as a council we don't control business 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.

"Last December, we launched a Countdown to Christmas campaign to encourage as many people as possible to shop local and support their local retailers and businesses in the run up to Christmas, and this was very successful.

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

"We are very lucky in that we already have an incredible array of shops and businesses, and we hope that our new Pop Up Shop Initiative will give new businesses the opportunity and confidence to get their ideas off the ground."

Entrepreneurs and small businesses interested in this opportunity can find more information, guidance and application form on the Pop up shop web page. The closing date for the first round of applications is Thursday 20 February 2020.

To express an interest or if you have any queries, please email: popupshop@chichester.gov.uk or call: 01243 534669.

Date of release: 27 January 2020

Reference: 3953