Morrissons Littlehampton town shop closing

In another blow to Littlehampton’s town centre retailing, troubled high street retailer Morissons are closing their town centre store.

‘To Let’ boards have now gone up on the front of the property and when I spoke to the agents they said the Littlehampton branch was due to close on 31st May 2015.

It’s unclear what will happen to the store’s employees. Hopefully, they can be relocated to Morrisons large superstore located in Wick, Littlehampton.

Morrissons Littlehampton town centre shop, which was opened in October 2013 by then Mayor Joyce Bower is being closed as part of a major restructuring following the company’s losses which have now soared to over £800m and has seen a boardroom cull like no other.

One of the main objectors when Morrissons applied for planning permission to build their Wick superstore was Waitrose, which ironically has also announced it will be closing its Littlehampton store and moving to Rustington.

It’s not clear if any other retailer has an interest in the old Waitrose building, but rumour has it that Aldi may be a possibility.

In any event, Arun District Council’s previous over-reliance on granting planning permissions to as many supermarkets as possible to build new stores the size of small towns, has finally come home to roost. Having all but wiped out the small independents,  they’re not turning on each other.

Ultimately, there can be no long term winners in these supermarket wars.

At the time of Morrissons Wick superstore application being made Arun District Council officers concluded in their report that “‘there is no clear evidence that the proposal will lead to significant adverse impacts on Wick or Littlehampton town centre.”

Waitrose objected to Arun granting planning permission to Morrissons.

Waitrose are now leaving the town.

So are Morrissons.

Littlehampton town centre can ill-afford to loose high profile, quality retailers – especially Waitrose.

To rent Morrisson’s soon to be vacant Littlehampton store, it will cost you £29,000 a year and you’ll have to pay £14,000 in business rates to Arun District Council. You’ll also be responsible for maintaining and insuring the building and you’ll face regular ‘upward only’ rent reviews.

We don’t need Mary Portas to tell us why our high streets are stuffed.

As always, thanks for reading.

Your comments are welcome.

You can also follow @pier_road on twitter for brief updates on what’s going on.








3 thoughts on “Morrissons Littlehampton town shop closing

  1. surprised not ! The sooner this Tory led council is relagated too history the better ! Jeeze what a mess right across Arun ! stagnated and suffocated by civic towers ! How just How some remain in jobs is beyond me and it’s our young people who will pay the price at what is as far as I’m concerned the biggest clown show in public service !

  2. To those concerned about the planning application at out of town Tesco to provide take away dry cleaning, watch repairs and key cutting from a pod out the front I copy here my objection which I submitted tonight.

    ‘In objecting to this proposal I would like you to take into account the following. First, that in compilation of the Littlehampton Neighbourhood Plan it was noted that ‘generally those consulted expressed concern for small business in the present economic climate.’ In the plan under Policy 9 it is detailed that the plan ‘recognises the importance of convenience retail, services and food take away facilities in local centres. The loss of such valued facilities to other development will require local communities to travel further, most often by car, and cannot be supported unless there is clear evidence that there is no longer a demand from customers, investors or operators to continuing the use’. Clearly not the case here as there are already providers of these services in town and local centres. In Aruns own emerging plan section three of the policy on retail development includes extensions. It specifies that sites should have provision for access by foot and cycle, something which from most directions this store does not. The National Planning Framework section 2 on the vitality of town centres makes it clear that ‘local planning authorities should apply a sequential test to planning applications for main town centre uses that are not in an existing centre and are not in accordance with an up to date local plan.’ I understand that it might be considered difficult to reject this application given that the store already has permissions for class A1 uses, it should be noted however that the proposed pod will be situated on a pedestrian area which can be heavily congested at busy times, with people waiting for taxis and the bus as well as for people shopping inside. It is already commonplace for people to be walking on the roadways at the front of the store. I also note that the dry-cleaning is to be taken away and done elsewhere, where and how often and by whom and in what transport? Perhaps most importantly though I would like to draw you attention to the decision of the Cornwall planning committee on the 5th Jan this year which rejected an identical application by 12 votes to nil. One of those objecting summarised the arguments against as follows ‘ (1) the proposal was contrary to the provisions of the NPPF 2012 (2) the proposed services were already provided by existing town centre businesses and the competition created would be unfair because the business would be attracted to the out of town Tesco store with free parking (iii) other town centre shops would be affected because customers of the business would shop in Tesco at the same time (iv) there is ample capacity on the town centre to accommodate new businesses (v) the proposal would jeopardise dozens of jobs and create only a couple.’ I couldn’t put it better myself.

  3. I believe slowly, but surely people are becoming more aware that government both local and national only work for themselves, they care not a jot about the greater good for the majority.
    All of them, from Westminster down are rotten to the core, you cannot believe a word they utter.

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