Pet shop owner to close village store

A shop in Pulborough's high street has become the latest to announce it will be leaving the village for good.

Wednesday, 25th October 2017, 4:56 pm
Updated Tuesday, 12th December 2017, 7:40 am
Gatley's pet shop in Pulborough. Photo by Steve Cobb
Gatley's pet shop in Pulborough. Photo by Steve Cobb

Gatley’s County Store and Pet Shop, in Lower Street, Pulborough, will close for the final time on Saturday (October 29).

Robin Duke, the owner of the company – which has more shops located across the Horsham district – said he was ‘left with no other option but to close’ after parking restrictions were imposed earlier this year.

He said: “Horsham District Council introduced car parking charges in the village which led to people parking in the lay-by outside our shop which has completely killed us off.

Robin Duke, the owner of Gatley's County Store and Pet Shop. Photo by Steve Cobb

“We need this lay-by to exist as our customers could park up and only have a short walk to their car with 15 kilogram bags of pet food.

“Now cars park up here for hours meaning our customers cannot park there anymore. There is meant to be a parking warden checking on this part of the village but I haven’t seen one for at least six months.

“The parking charges have left us with no other option but to close.”

Mr Duke feels Pulborough has been ‘left to vanish’ as other towns across the district, including Steyning, have continued to thrive.

Robin Duke, the owner of Gatley's County Store and Pet Shop. Photo by Steve Cobb

He added: “I have tried everything over the past five years.

“I took on the village post office to try to keep it open but that was the worst experience I had in business.

“During that time, I tried to join forces with the village banks of Barclays and Natwest to put the banks, pet shop and post office in one place but they declined.

“I then took the decision to close the post office because I couldn’t keep it going and shortly after that, the banks closed.

“I don’t understand why, but Pulborough has been left to vanish while our other shops in Steyning, Petersfield and Washington for example are thriving.”

The Government’s decision to increase high street rates earlier this year has also played a part in the decision to close, according to Mr Duke.

He added: “High street rates have gone up in the past six months which does not help the little businesses to thrive in villages like Pulborough.

“We have two big supermarkets in the village with free car parks.
“If you are given the option to park for free at Tesco or pay for parking to use our shop, you’re going to choose free parking every time.

“People have stopped coming to our shop and sales have significantly dropped meaning that business is no longer viable.

“We have been subsidising the shop for two years and I have taken the decision to stop.

“I have just totally given up with authorities including Pulborough Parish Council who have done nothing to help despite numerous discussions.”

Horsham District Council has been approached for comment.