Council approves Bognor seafront plan worth £640k

Bognor's seafront bandstand, with the pier in the distance SUS-140319-143511003
Bognor's seafront bandstand, with the pier in the distance SUS-140319-143511003

Arun District Council have voted to give a Seafront Delivery Plan, worth £640k in phase one alone, the go ahead.

Despite fears it could ‘blight what is to come’, the result of the meeting on July 20 will unlock a series of changes for Bognor Regis.

It includes new public toilets, concession businesses, moving the bandstand and the already completed ‘Beach on the Beach’.

Also featured is the commissioning of a ‘style guide’ by architects which it has been confirmed will ‘apply to all new buildings both permanent and temporary located on the promenade between Butlin’s and the pier to ensure coherence of design along the seafront’.

Speaking at the meeting, councillor Jim Brooks expressed his fears of the impact this will have on regeneration plans for the town.

He said: “In phase one the seafront strategy plonks itself right on the seafront and that could blight what is to come.

“At the very least I would hope the £640k project would work with those groups who have put forward proposals to see how the council plans could fit in. We can’t be in a position where we consult with these groups if we pass phase one.

“Phase two is flexible so why can’t phase one be?”

Councillor Francis Oppler also expressed concerns the bandstand could be ‘demolished’ if due care is not taken with its relocation to Waterloo Gardens, as outlined in phase two of the plan.

Councillor Phil Hitchens reassured his call for a survey to be completed would be undertaken.

He added: “I can’t see any reason why that bandstand can’t be reinstated elsewhere.”

Many, including councillor Paul Wells, expressed their happiness of seeing ‘progression at last’.

Cllr Wells said: “It is good to see proposals for the seafront coming forward, there has been talk in recent years but not much action.

“However, wherever we plan to put these new public conveniences, we have to give it careful consideration and consult to make sure it serves what is required.”

The delivery plan compiled by Caroline Gosford, senior regeneration officer at Arun, seeks to rectify the fact ‘there have been lots of things agreed’ but ‘no plan of where to put them’.

Funding has already been secured for this over the past three years from a variety of budget allocations.

Phase one includes:

The Beach on the Beach (£40k) and four further points to see architects commissioned create; ‘a holistic style guide’ for the seafront buildings (£50k), designs for a new toilet building (£200K), designs for a ‘new permanent concession pilot building’ (£240k) and designs for a ‘free-to-access’ play area (£100k).

These projects have ‘indicative timing’ outlined up to summer 2018.

Phase two, which is yet to be funded, includes ‘feasibility’ work on relocation the bandstand to Waterloo Gardens, plans for beach huts along Butlin’s promenade fencing and ‘easily removable permanent’ units/kiosks at Place St Maur.