Bognor Regis on ‘life support’ according to Bill Bryson in latest book

Bill Bryson did not enjoy his visit to Bognor Regis as much as he did the South Downs

Bill Bryson did not enjoy his visit to Bognor Regis as much as he did the South Downs

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CELEBRATED author Bill Bryson has been invited to take a second look at Bognor Regis after a damning chapter on the town in his latest book.

The first chapter of The Road to Little Dribbling, entitled Bugger Bognor, recounts his visit.

“Now, as far as I could tell, all the authorities are doing for Bognor is just keeping it ticking over, like a patient on life support,” he said.

Arun District Council was mentioned for setting up a Bognor Regis regeneration task force in 2005 with an ‘ambitious’ target of raising £500m of investment, which was later reduced to £25m.

“Eventually it was decided that a more realistic target was a sum of about zero,” wrote Mr Bryson.

An Arun cabinet member said Mr Bryson should take another look at what the town had to offer.

Paul Dendle, cabinet member for leisure and amenities, said Bognor had seen a lot of improvements recently, such as the ‘transformation of Station Square’, which in turn is leading towards a £1.5m makeover for the listed railway station, and improvements to the main shopping precinct.

He added: “We encourage Mr Bryson and all visitors to the area to visit 
www.sussexbythesea.com where details of the many attractions and crowd-pleasing events such as Rox Arts and Music Festival, Hotham Park Country Fair, August Bank Holiday Illuminations, Town Carnival and Prom in the Park plus many more throughout the year can be found.”

Readers, residents and shoppers have an instant opportunity to prove their love for the town by voting in the Great British High Street awards, where Bognor Regis is currently competing to be voted the best coastal community.

To vote before November 13, go to www.thegreatbritishhighstreet.co.uk

Cllr Dendle went on to say: “A major public consultation with local residents and businesses has taken place to identify how we can further improve the town.

“We are currently reviewing a wide range of development proposals for the two key strategic development sites at the Regis Centre and Hothamton car parks so it is a very exciting time for Bognor Regis.”

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