Plans to generate 14,000 jobs in Bognor Regis

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Ambitious plans to regenerate Bognor Regis with up to 14,000 new jobs have been sent to the government.

The proposal to create an enterprise zone around the town has made it through the first round of vetting.

It is one of three schemes which have been selected by the Coast to Capital local enterprise partnership to become a large zone across its area.

Civil servants will consider if the proposals meet the criteria for a zone.

If they agree, it will be up to Arun District Council and business organisations involved in the Enterprise@Bognor Regis scheme to add more detail to the initial ideas.

This large amount of work will have to be done by the middle of next month.

The Coast to Capital board will have just two weeks to decide which bid to endorse to the government for the final approval by ministers by the end of June.

A Coast to Capital spokesman said: “Enterprise@Bognor Regis is a major economic opportunity that would bring new business development and jobs to the town.

“It would be catalyst for enterprise and economic growth.

“I am confident designation would maximise and build on the local economic potential, with the University of Chichester’s recently-opened state-of-the-art business centre and the exciting plans for further leisure development at Butlin’s.

“It would mean more local jobs for new residents moving to the area.”

John Peel, the chairman of Coast to Capital, said the expression of interest was unique to reflect the unique nature of the local enterprise partnership in its geography and the way it tackled the number of jobless through enterprise and export initiatives.

“We await the next stage of bidding with keen anticipation,” he said.

The latest version of Enterprise Zones was announced by the chancellor, George Osborne, in his March budget.

Ten of them will be created in areas which have bid for the right to benefit from the status.

This will range from a greatly-relaxed planning regime to benefit businesses as well as incentives for firms to move to the area.

These will include rate rebates and super-fast broadband.

The Enterprise@Bognor Regis ideas could transform the town across 175 hectares with the potential to create 10,000-14,000 jobs.

They will:

-create an advanced manufacturing park on Oldlands Farm;

- a knowledge park mainly for office development;

- a campus of small business and studio units in parkland setting on the former Lec airfield;

- delivery of a university hub with business units;

- a retail and leisure hub expanding upon the new Sainsbury’s store; and

- improvements to the Durban Road and Southern Cross industrial areas.

The two other sites which the Coast to Capital board wants to see in the zone are Croydon and the Manor Royal estate between Crawley and Gatwick Airport.