High hopes for an enterprise zone in Bognor Regis

A £30,000 fund will be used to see if plans for an enterprise zone in Bognor Regis can be kept alive.

The money has come from the new homes bonus received by Arun District Council from the government.

It will be spent on a review to find out how to implement the local version of a zone even though the bid for Bognor was snubbed by the government in the summer.

The review will report to a working group which will lead the work on the zone.

The group’s initial members will be Anthony Everitt and Karl Roberts from the council, Richard McMann (Bognor Regis Regeneration Board), Clare Chester (West Sussex County Council), David Cooper (University of Chichester) and will be chaired by Coastal West Sussex’s Caroline Wood.

Arun senior economic development officer Mr Everitt said: “The review will show how realistic it is to set up a local enterprise zone.

“I expect the group to hold its first meeting within the next month and the commencement of the review to start this year.

“I would expect it to be finished by next spring at the latest, though no official time frame has been set.

“I am pretty confident a local enterprise zone would be a success. When you speak to some of the landowners, and their agents, they talk about people inside and outside the Sussex coastal strip who need land and are struggling to be accommodated.

“So, we know there is some latent demand out there. What we need to do is make sure we can provide a good reason for them to move to Bognor.

“What is it that will make Bognor a stand-out place which is more competitive for a business to move to? We want to make it as attractive as possible.”

The review was agreed by the council’s regeneration sub-committee and is set to be ratified by all council members tonight (November 9).