EMPTY shops in Littlehampton’s High Street could be a thing of the past, after a band of optimistic traders put in a bid for more than £100,000 worth of support.
For the past few months, members of the Littlehampton Traders’ Partnership have been preparing their bid for the innovative Mary Portas Pilot Town scheme, which will see 12 towns nationwide receive financial support to help them attract more business into their High Streets.
Now, the group has released a YouTube video it hopes will help to win them the much-needed cash.
Celia Thomson, owner of Ahead to Toe, in East Street, has been helping to spearhead the project.
She said: “This is an exciting opportunity to help rejuvenate Littlehampton’s High Street.
“Currently, around seven per cent of the shops in the High Street are empty, with Dorothy Perkins set to leave at the end of the month.
“There’s an apathy in the town that no-one will ever get anything done.
“Well, we want to change that.
“We’ve got the support of Arun District Council, the Littlehampton Town Council and the Littlehampton Harbour Board.”
If successful, the traders plan to hold a renaissance market in the Arcade every Sunday, full of hand-made goods and jewellery.
It also hopes the money will help attract more niche businesses into the town.
The group will try to improve the signage to make it more user-friendly for disabled people, as well as starting a free, three-hour parking scheme on Sundays.
Anthony Everitt, Arun’s senior economic development officer, said: “We’re really excited by the energy and enthusiasm of the Littlehampton traders and hope the Mary Portas bid succeeds.
“If successful, we look forward to sitting down with the traders and working with them to determine how best they could spend the funding for the benefit of the town.”
The group will discover whether their application has been successful in May.
To view the video, click here.