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Could you be the person to run Chichester's first dedicated High Street store for local producers?

Introduction

Chichester will soon have a High Street store dedicated to selling local produce - and the hunt is on for someone to take on the lease. The scheme, thought to be the first of its kind in the country, has been introduced by Chichester District Council and West Sussex County Council to support local businesses. It is hoped that it will encourage people to buy, and discover more about, the high quality of food that is produced locally.


The project was given the go-ahead after local producers said that a presence within the High Street would be the best way to support them to grow their businesses. They also believe this will complement the city's regular Farmers' Markets.

Chichester District Council is now looking for an innovative individual or company to lease 29a South Street to sell local produce from the district and surrounding areas. Applicants will be expected to prove that they have good retail experience, financial strength and a good business plan to make sure that the shop meets the project's aims.

To help kick-start the new business, West Sussex is investing £70,000 of funding to fit out the shop. An additional £5,000 is also available to provide assistance to local producers, who require help in supplying the shop.

The project reflects many of the ideas highlighted in 'From Field to Fork' - a recent study from The Campaign to Protect Rural England. The report shows that three times the number of jobs are supported, when people buy from smaller independent local food outlets.

 "Our area has some of the best local produce in the country and we should be celebrating and promoting this," says Cllr Myles Cullen, Deputy Leader and Cabinet Member for the Economy, Property and Tourism at Chichester District Council.

"We asked local producers how they would like us to support them and their answer was to have a presence on the High Street. By working with West Sussex County Council on this project we hope to boost the local economy and help small local businesses to grow.

"Local suppliers have so much to offer, including sharing knowledge on what's seasonal and the best way to cook and serve food. We hope that by everyone working together, not only will it provide local people with a fantastic new store, but that it will also attract even more visitors to our beautiful city."

If everything goes to plan, it is hoped that the new shop will open by the end of the year.

Jason Burt, Managing Director of Farmhouse Cookery Ltd in Bosham, is excited about the project. He says: "Here at Farmhouse Cookery we've been championing great Sussex produce for over 10 years, not only as ingredients in our cakes but in our distribution service.  To have a dedicated high street presence singing the praises of our county's produce is invaluable to small producers like myself. We're proud and delighted to be a part of such an initiative and urge our community to support us!"

Caroline Spiby, owner of Caroline's Dairy, was one of the people who put forward the idea. She says: "I am delighted that we will all be able to buy local produce from a shop in South Street, Chichester.  We are extremely fortunate in this area to have such a wide variety of locally produced fruit, vegetables, cakes, conserves and condiments - not forgetting our ice cream. To have the opportunity to have these in one shop in Chichester is amazing.  We have come this far and now we need the support of the local community to keep the idea going.  Go and see what our area has to offer, you will be pleased!"

Those interested in applying for the lease can find more information and access a downloadable pack from www.chichester.gov.uk/localproduceshop or call 01243 534669.