High Street

Behind the Counter in Hurstpierpoint

In 2007 Nicki Newson decided to take control of her own destiny. At the time she was a nurse working for the NHS, but things were tough. This is the story of how an osteopathy and complementary health clinic landed on the High Street, right where they used to sell combine harvesters!

By David Tingley

Nicki has always loved working with people. Her career started when she qualified as a nurse and has worked at various hospitals in Sussex, including Southlands in Shoreham. She has worked in some particularly challenging departments but none more so than Intensive Care. “The High Dependency Unit,” Nicki recalled, “was a place where things change so fast. Clearly some tragic events took place there, but also some amazing breakthrough moments too.”

We don’t just treat the symptom, we look at the person as a whole.
— Nicki Newson

The frustrations of the National Health Service were taking their toll on Nicki however, and she began to look for a way out. Nicki explained: “I’d always had an interest in complementary health, and I’d seen an osteopath myself over many years, so I took the decision to retrain.”

After deciding to retrain, Nicki moved to working in the Private sector, mainly in the High Dependency Unit at the Sussex Nuffield. It took four years full-time for her to gain a BSc degree in Osteopathy, during which time she continued to work as a nurse in HDU and latterly in Casualty in Ashford, Kent. “The course was a tough one, with evenings and holidays taken up in the student clinic from year two onwards. I graduated in 2003.” It was a very difficult course, both physically and academically, but when she graduated she was awarded Best Clinician of the year.

In the early 2000s, 135-137 High Street was a retail unit for agricultural machinery supplier Harper and Eede Limited. “It may seem unbelievable to some, but there was a yard at the back (now built on) with all sorts of massive farm equipment in! The High Street was very different, even only 11 years ago,” Nicki comments. Despite a lot of interest in the site in 2007, she managed to secure it for what she was planning.

The location was perfect, as she was living in Brighton at the time but was used to working around Lewes and Haywards Heath – so Nicki had plenty of contacts.

“It was always going to be a team business,” she explains. “One of the key enjoyable aspects of my nursing career was being part of a team, so I was keen to work with and alongside like-minded practitioners who could all work together.”

Bob Saunders, from Hampers: Village People interview

Bob Saunders, Hampers, Hurstpierpoint

By Michèle Copeland

Bob Saunders, from Hampers, is a well known figure in the village. When I go to meet him, he stands behind his counter which is laden with cheese, Italian salamis and olives.

“There’s nothing more challenging and enjoyable to me than to find an unknown cheese for one of my customers,” he says with a bright smile. 

Bob prides himself on buying and stocking as many locally sourced products as possible. “However, the produce must be good quality. I won’t buy it just because it is local.”

He caught the cooking bug at a young age from his mother and from one of his uncles, who became one of his mentors.

He worked as Head Chef at The Carlton in London and at The Royal Bath, among other places. “I was definitely inspired by my mum too, who did a lot of home cooking, so I come from a long line of chefs,” he continues.

How did it all start?

Bob was born in Yeovil. His dad worked for the Great Western Railway, on steam trains, but was posted to Brighton following closure of the Yeovil branch. Bob was still a lad when the family moved.

Bob, who went to Portslade Boys School before training at Brighton Technical College, worked at Vandenburgh’s in Burgess Hill for about ten years, moving up from third chef to second chef and then head chef in the late 1990s. He was then approached by his accountant to ask if he could help out Michèle Bole from time to time in her restaurant in Hurstpierpoint – which he agreed to do.

Shortly afterwards the delicatessen next door to Michèle’s restaurant came up for sale, and Bob decided to go into partnership with Michèle, running both the restaurant and delicatessen side by side.

[Full story on page 10 of March 2018 Hurst Life magazine]

High Street gets new retro shop - RetroSpective


Hurstpierpoint High Street will be the home to a new retail outlet later this month when RetroSpective opens at number 89 – in the former Jam Pot shop.

The business is the brainchild of Lindsay Thompson and Tony Walsh who have had a stall in My Vintage, Hassocks for the last four years. Now the pair are going it alone, and are inviting like-minded potential stallholders to get in touch. “If you know someone who has a penchant for antiques and vintage items, or local high quality arts and crafts, then we’d love to talk to them,” Lindsay commented.

The shop will stock various types of products including upcycled furniture and accessories for every room in the house. But there will also be other items such as organic lavender products and pre-loved clothing for sale too.

Lindsay, who grew up in nearby Hassocks, says that Hurst is the perfect place to set up in business. “Hurstpierpoint is a lovely, historic and growing village (and one I very much enjoyed in my misspent youth!). We believe that the residents are keen to support their local high street, and we are keen to be part of that community and ensuring that it continues to thrive.”

At the time of going to print, the shop is currently undergoing a refit and it looks likely that RetroSpective will open its doors during February. Its hours will be 9.30am-5.30pm Monday to Saturday and Sunday’s 10am-4pm.

For more information call Lindsay on 07789 397284.

Chatt Estates opens on Hurstpierpoint High Street

Chatt Estates, Hurst office

Chatt Estates, Hurst office

Keen eyed residents will have noticed that there’s a new estate agent on the High Street at number 133. 

Chatt Estates was founded by Peter Chatt and Alex Santry when they opened its first office in Ditchling in 2015. Having been born and bred in the area, Peter explained that opening in Hurstpierpoint last month was an ‘obvious step’ for the thriving agency. 

“Our team is hungry, proactive and efficient, and has a combined 15 years of local property knowledge. Do drop in and say hello. You’ll feel like you’ve know us forever,” Peter commented.

Another new shop - seamstress now open too


A Hurstpierpoint resident opened a new shop in the village last month.

Maria Fox is a bridal seamstress and she’s taken the shop at 108 High Street for her business that specialises in bridalwear, bridesmaids, prom dresses and occasion wear – but she also offers general alterations too.

Maria, who has been sewing for 15 years, comments: “I pride myself on being meticulous! I know it has to be just right. All dresses leave my shop fitting perfectly and my brides happy.” 

The shop is open between 9am and 3pm during the week and by appointment on Saturdays. If you’d like to know more pop in and say Hi, or find Maria Fox Bridal Seamstress on Facebook.

High Street Works in August - A safer street

     The puffin crossing will remain in the same place outside Fat Fish.
     Further along, in the direction of Hassocks, the existing give way priority will remain in place. 
     During the works the contractor is hoping to reuse as many of the attractive granite kerb stones as possible.
     “We are hoping that the new layout of the High Street,” Stephen continued, “will encourage drivers to park in designated spaces which will therefore not obstruct the flow of traffic.”
     The Parish Council are already in discussion with Mid Sussex District Council about the possibilty of increased frequency of traffic wardens on the High Street to enable those spaces to be more readily used for shoppers ‘nipping in’ to local shops rather than all day parking.
     During the period of the works buses will be diverted via Jane Murray Way in Burgess Hill, so bus users should expect slightly longer journey times. The Parish Council has also just announced that it has put on a special shuttle bus which links the west of the village to Hassocks. The ‘33C’ is a FREE service running from Willow Way through to Pyecombe and Hassocks. For more details of this service and other bus route diversions see www.hurstpierpoint-pc.org.uk
     Drivers travelling from one end of the village to the other are being asked by the Parish Council to avoid using College Lane and Cuckfield Road, as these are not part of the formal diversion and will become congested very easily.
     The contractor will be working on-site from 7.30am until 5pm, Monday to Saturdays during August. For any more information residents can visit the Parish Council website or go into the Parish Office on Trinity Road.



All information also available on pages 16/17.




So, after many years of talking about it, the High Street is being transformed this month to include new features such as wider pavements, a new traffic flow system and cycle racks.
     The work, which has been researched and commissioned by Hurstpierpoint & Sayers Common Parish Council, will start on Sunday 2nd August when the High Street will be closed to vehicles at both ends. The closure will remain in place until Friday 28th August. 
     It is important to note that pedestrian access to the High Street shops will remain open throughout the works period. 
     Parish Clerk Stephen Hoyles commented: “This work has been in the pipeline of the Parish Council since 2007, so it’s good to finally be starting the project. The primary reasons for the work to be carried out are that of pedestrian safety and to slow traffic speeds down as they pass through our village. We have been talking to residents over this long period of time and we know people are worried about this in Hurstpierpoint.” 
     One of the major parts of the project is making the very narrow section of pavement on the other side of the road, opposite Nationwide, wider. At some points it could be nearly twice as wide. The extra width is being created by narrowing the road on that stretch and introducing a give way priority system.
     Outside Nationwide the pavement area will be dramatically increased and will continue along to West Furlong Lane.
     On the south side of the High Street an entirely new pavement is being created outside West Furlong Court,  which will continue up to Mansion House. The existing pavement here will be replaced with new keyblock paving and a nib is also being created in front of the steps of the house.
     There will be space allocated for a new loading bay outside The New Inn. This will operate in the mornings and become a short term parking bay thereafter.
     Outside the Post Office there will be a new crossing point created, and just further along the street another give way priority will be put in place. This will enable drivers to see all the way down the High Street before proceeding down the single lane.