Fears charity shops could turn Midhurst into a ‘second hand town’

The former CDC offices now a charity shop
The former CDC offices now a charity shop
  • Two new charity shops at Midhurst have raised concerns for the future of the town
  • Councillors fear they are ‘inappropriate’ and want to encourage individual shops
  • They also say they are competition for private businesses

TWO new charity shops in the centre of Midhurst have raised concerns for the future of the town.

Chairman of town council planning, Gordon McAra said: “Chichester District Council, (CDC) by stealth, have agreed to rent their former offices in North Street to a charity shop.

It’s a disgrace, it could make Midhurst a second hand town

Town councillor Lesley Campbell

“We had discussions and were told quite clearly it would be for advice and guidance for partially sighted people with a few items for sale - at no stage was a charity shop mentioned.”

But the result, was a ‘dowdy charity shop in a prominent place by the bus station where visitors were coming into Midhurst’.

He said, the former Frasers, a large and prominent shop further up North Street was being converted as a St Wilfrid’s Hospice charity shop.

“We are going from four to six charity shops in the blink of an eye and it really is not appropriate for a town that has tried for years, supported by CDC, to encourage individual shops.”

“It’s a disgrace, it could make Midhurst a second hand town,” said fellow councillor Lesley Campbell.

Mr McAra said the problem with charity shops was they did not look attractive and were in competition with individual shops. But charity shops had items for sale which cost them nothing, they were run by unpaid volunteers and paid no business rates.

“Big charities come along with money behind them and the shop rent is guaranteed, whereas individual businesses don’t have that guarantee and so landlords go with the charities.”

Steve Morley said Midhurst had been let down by lack of communication at CDC where the Estates department wanted rent for its former offices, but economic development officers wanted to see it used as an individual shop.

“There is a certain amount of greed on the part of some people at CDC - as far as they’re concerned its an opportunity to rent and all they are looking at is profit, profit, profit without taking into consideration what this town needs and what their economic development department is trying to achieve.”

Don’t miss out on all the latest breaking news where you live.

Here are four ways you can be sure you’ll be amongst the first to know what’s going on.

1) Make our website your homepage at www.midhurstandpetworth.co.uk/

2) Like our Facebook page at www.facebook.com/MidhurstandPetworthObserver

3) Follow us on Twitter @mid_pet_obs

4) Register with us by clicking on ‘sign in’ (top right corner). You can then receive our daily newsletter AND add your point of view to stories that you read here.

And do share with your family and friends - so they don’t miss out!

The Midhurst and Petworth Observer - always the first with your local news.

Be part of it.