Bognor regeneration fans want to get going

An architect's plan of the lagoon proposed for Bognor Regis by the 4BR regeneration group
An architect's plan of the lagoon proposed for Bognor Regis by the 4BR regeneration group

REGENERATION enthusiasts behind a bid to boost Bognor Regis are eager to get going.

The members of 4BR are counting the days until Arun District Council releases the official tender documents to redevelop the Hothamton and Regis Centre sites.

The group’s initial ideas involved arts and aquatic sports. They featured a national art gallery with Tate Britain, a celebration of William Blake and a flexible multi-use centre on the seafront and a multi-purpose venue at Hothamton. A cold water reef to boost watersports was also included.

Founder member Sean Maginnis said: “We are in a situation to move forward. We are sitting in limbo.

“We are ready to go when the tender documents come out. We can move quickly as soon as they come out.

“We are committed to bringing forward a truly regenerative opportunity for Bognor’s town centre and our approach has been proven in our initial proposals.

“What makes 4BR different is that it is led by locals who have a long-established commitment to the town and an award-winning architect who is passionate about bringing forward the very best regenerative scheme to re-establish Bognor as the pre-eminent seaside town it once was.

“4BR believe in building on the town’s assets, combining its natural seaside environment with its cultural and historic assets to build a year-round attraction.”

4BR unveiled its original proposals in February 2015. Mr Maginnis said its members had since spoken to a wide range of individuals and organisations to produce a scheme which would meet with general approval while also giving Bognor a long-lasting regeneration.

But he declined to reveal the latest details because of enabling other potential developers to copy some of the ideas.

He said, however, Paul Newman of Juice Architects – who has also worked on the Swansea Bay regeneration – was still fully involved. A developer with a track record of delivering major regenerative schemes was also backing the bid. Flats were an essential part of the scheme to pay for the community aspects.

4BR has also met Arun to find out more information about the two sites and the process that needs to be followed to bid to develop them.

The council has to issue an official Europe-wide invitation to tender when it has decided what it wants to see on the key locations – one on the seafront and the other off Queensway.

Arun is working on enhancing the cultural facilities at the Regis Centre and allowing a block of flats for student or staff accommodation on Hothamton. But it is at the early stages of its work.

“4BR’s belief is that we should be investing and building for future generations and, as the current generation, we should be proud of that,” said Mr Maginnis.

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