Gillian Keegan, Chichester’s MP visited the team at Chichester BID and toured the City to talk to local business owners and managers. The local MP went around many of the City’s independent retailers and pubs to hear how their businesses were coping with the impacts of Covid-19.
During her tour of the City, many of the retailers she met were in high spirits, with many people still opting to shop local. Businesses have received unprecedented support throughout the pandemic from the Government, including business rates relief, the job retention scheme and several low-cost loans.
The MP heard how currently Chichester has a vacancy rate of between eight and nine per cent. Discussing the issue with Callum Woodgate of Flude Commercial, it was pointed out there was a high level of interest in these currently empty shops from Independent retailers, and a gradual move toward more turnover based rents.
Chichester has been highly adaptive in its approach to protecting the high street, including making the most of the LoyalFree app that offers shoppers and visitors a whole host of deals, activities and attractions to visit. On top of this, many local businesses have improved their online offer for those who are unable to venture into the city.
A spokesman for Chichester BID said: “Chichester BID are very pleased our MP has visited the City and been able to speak to people in shops in the chain, independent and hospitality sectors.
“The BID and the councils have done much work to ensure that the city is a lively and enjoyable place for Christmas shopping. The BID has ensured the provision of Christmas lighting which does so much to give a seasonal lift to the City centre.
“BID’s Christmas trail for children and shop window competition to enhance displays do much to encourage shopping. The opening of all shops last week is a much needed and major boost to the prosperity of our shops and other businesses. I am always surprised at their resilience and innovation in the face of the difficulties we have all experienced over the last year. Chichester BID wishes them every success this Christmas and in 2021”.
Gillian Keegan added, “Chichester BID has done a fantastic job to make Chichester as festive as ever this year. We are so lucky to have such brilliant local businesses who have done so much to support the community and worked incredibly hard to stay afloat during the major challenges they’ve faced this year. I fully encourage everyone to think before they buy and always try to shop local, whether online or in-store.”