Expensive rent and business rates blamed as Chichester art store confirms set to close


Coln Gallery owner Bill Banbury has said the North Street store will close when its lease expires in early September.

He said: “Obviously, we are very grateful for all the support that [customers] have given us over the years.

“We can’t afford it anymore, we are still opening our other two branches but Chichester is too expensive.

The Coln Gallery in North Street, Chichester

“Business rates are expensive and just the salary and financial expenses, it just doesn’t add up anymore.”

He said the Chichester branch had been open for around 15 to 20 years.

“We’re sorry to go because it’s a beautiful store and we love Chichester and we love our customers but we can’t go on and I think a lot of stores are struggling,” he said.

The store is the latest in a series of closures in Chichester this year, including House of Fraser, and the sudden closings of HMV, Solutions Inc computer store and Crabtree and Eveyln on West Street.

Business rates are set by the central government based on the value of a property, with funds being redistributed to local councils. See our Factfile: Business Rates in Chichester Bill Banbury said he believes the problems with the Main Street are “accelerating”.

“I think what happened to all of us was when the owners bought this space on the main street and fixed the rent, it was all done a long time ago, before the internet, and over the years, the rent has gone up and the sales have gone down, but because of the Internet.

“Everyone seems to see it, but the owners of the premises don’t see that the rents are unrealistic, people buy a lot of their purchases on the Internet – city councils are guilty of the same fault, they won’t. just not. Take it into account. “

He said the success of the shop as it stood, offering art supplies and gifts, was due to the efforts of the Chichester staff team.

“They were fantastic, always in a good mood and they know all the products and without them the shop wouldn’t have been as good as it is,” he said.

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