Littlehampton pop-up shop to give start-ups their first taste of high street

Littlehampton's high street
Littlehampton's high street

Plans to open a pop-up shop in Littlehampton town centre have been given the go-ahead.

An empty retail unit would be used to give start-up businesses and entrepreneurs their first taste of operating on the high street.

Arun District Council’s cabinet agreed to fund the set-up and running costs last Monday (March 9).

The original plan was to use 61-63 high street, formerly a Hartley’s Wine Store, but the meeting heard that negotiations with the owner had not been successful to date and the council would be casting its net wider for a suitable location.

Denise Vine, group head of the economy at Arun, described how other potential properties had been identified.

She did not rule out the possibility of the pop-up shop being there, but the cabinet’s recommendation ‘widens the possibilities’.

James Walsh, leader of the council, said: “This gives entrepreneurs the ability to create start-up businesses in a small unit without many of the overheads and expenses.”

Matt Stanley, cabinet member for technical services, highlighted how shopping habits were changing and the council had to react to that.

The cabinet agreed to use an empty unit it owns in Bognor Regis as a pop-up shop, while a similar scheme for Arundel is set to be explored in the coming months.

If the former Hartley’s unit becomes available the plan was to make space for around seven to eight pop-up retail stands.

According to an officers’ report: “Pop-up retail projects have been tried elsewhere across the UK and have been proven to work – Drapers Yard in Chichester is a similar, but privately owned, enterprise and Chichester District Council has just launched a similar scheme.”

Set-up costs of £11,872 and annual running costs of £28,000 were agreed for the Littlehampton element of the scheme.

The report describes how projects have been funded for one year and an assessment will be made from about month 10 to establish the feasibility and viability of either or both continuing.