Allowing an empty shop to be used as a dental practice in an area where retailers were ‘struggling’ was described as a ‘no brainer’ by one Adur councillor.
The shop, at 30 Brunswick Road, Shoreham-by-Sea, has been on the market for six months with no takers from the retail sector.
At a meeting of the district council’s planning committee, James Appleton, head of planning, told members that four different businesses had set up in the shop over the past six years, and there had been some concern from traders about the viability of the area.
He added: “I think the closure of the post office has reduced footfall in that area and I think retailers are struggling as a result of it.”
A report put before the meeting said that allowing a Mydentist practice to use the shop and treat NHS customers would attract more people to the area which could, in turn, help to support the other shops.
The thought was shared by ward member Catherine Arnold (Lab, St Mary’s).
While Mrs Arnold was unable to attend the meeting, she sent a statement which said the area had ‘suffered badly’ with the loss of the post office.
She added: “Statistics show that, nationally, when a Crown post office moves, the profits of surrounding retailers fall between 40 and 50 per cent.”
Mrs Arnold said this had ‘most definitely been the case’ in Brunswick Road, with several shops and attractions approaching her ‘concerned for their future’.
With some shops ‘getting by just month by month’, she said the dental practice would be ‘a welcome step towards reinvigorating this stretch of the Shoreham central shopping area’.
Mydentist will take over the ground floor for one consulting room, while the top floor will remain as office space.
Stephen Chipp (Con, Southwick Green) said: “To me it’s a no-brainer. It’s going to be serving NHS patients, they’re going to be spending money and we’re going to retain the use of the office.”