A MASSIVE jobs boost for the Bognor Regis area has been given approval.
The out of town retail site and business park on Oldlands Farm, with the potential for 1,000-plus jobs, was given unanimous backing by councillors.
Developers Hanbury Properties and the Langmead Children Farm Partnership will build on 18.94 hectares of farmland between the A29 and the new Bognor Regis northern relief road.
A further 6.72ha will be artifically lowered to flood and keep the rest of the vulnerable site safe. Planning officer Cian Cronin recommended the scheme for approval to the committee last Wednesday. He said the applicants would install the services and 190m of internal road to kickstart the area.
There would be 8,366sq m of floor space for retailers of bulky goods such as fridges and freezers and furniture, car showrooms and trade counters.
The restrictions on the goods to be sold would limit the diversion of trade from Bognor town centre.
It would still attract some £9.2m of business a year. Of that, about £2m – or some 3.4 per cent of the total turnover – would come from spending in the central area.
Another 25,000sq m will be provided on the new estate for various business uses. Between 710-1,690 full-time equivalent jobs would be created in all.
But the mixture of uses would only have a limited impact on the St Modwen regeneration scheme for the Hothamton and Regis Centre sites in the town centre.
Cllr Ricky Bower (C, East Preston) said: “This is one of the most welcome planning applications I have seen for some time. It’s taken a long time to get to this stage. This site was designated for employment in 2003.
“But we did hold out for what we felt was the right thing on this site. It’s a vitally important development from my point of view and from the economy’s point of view.”
Cllr Andrew Evans (C, Marine) said: “No other site in the vicinity has the potential to create so many jobs that will particularly benefit our young people. It will give them opportunities for the future. It is a very attractive proposal.”
Cllr Simon McDougall (LD, Bersted) said: “There is going to be a massive benefit from this for local people given the jobs situation in the area which certainly is to be welcomed.”