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 townTown 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.”
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