In My View – Embracing Change

By Helen Marshall, CEO and Chair of Chichester BID

City centres are changing. None are immune from the evolution of today’s high streets and the relentless march of commercial and consumer changes.

Let’s not bemoan bygone days when our city was “always busy and bustling”, as coming to town was then the only way to purchase anything. Those days are surely now behind us.

Let’s embrace the change that internet shopping and different consumer behaviours bring to our city centres.

For all of us, not just younger generations, city centres now have a different purpose. Coming into town in today’s world is about, more than ever before, meeting up with friends, socialising, enjoying a holistic and perhaps healthy experience, soaking up cultural life.

We need to recognise this change is happening, adapt the way we think of our high street and adapt the way we use our high street. It is within our gift to weather this temporary storm that Chichester and all other high streets are experiencing. If we change our perspective and attitude towards our own city centre, we will see our much-loved city rise up and flourish.

To quicken the pace of change, we must encourage new businesses into our city – businesses that offer great experiential opportunities and a unique offer that cannot be replicated online. These creative businesses will inject energy into the city and also gel wonderfully alongside our current independent businesses who do a great job in keeping our city special.

But they will only thrive if we all use our high street often. Make a conscious effort to shop with just one more local indie business the next time you are in the city.  To weather the change thrust upon us, it is imperative we celebrate and support the success of our entrepreneurial and thriving city centre business community.