A successful future for Bognor Regis has been predicted by the council officer who has overseen its regeneration work.
Jaqui Ball, Arun District Council’s interim strategic director, resumed her role for the town last year after its task force was disbanded.
She said: “I hope and believe Bognor will soon be on the up. We will have the regeneration plans coming from St Modwen in the autumn.
“I will not be here to see that through but I’m really pleased I have been involved in kick-starting some of that work. With the level of interest there is in Bognor, I believe the future for the town is bright.”
Ways to improve the town centre were being looked at by the district, county and town councils in partnership with a £300,000 fund.
“We can make things happen pretty quickly to improve the public realm,” she said. “That will make Bognor become a livelier, brighter looking place.
“If people see their town centre being looked after, they will start to feel better about the town. These are small-scale improvements that don’t even need a lot of money or interest from developers.”
Worthing resident Jaqui, who is married to Brian, retires on her 65th birthday on Wednesday (June 6) after more than 26 years at the council.
She plans to spend more time on her hobbies of creative writing, reading and family history as well as enjoying a family holiday in Devon this summer.
She is keen to continue to make a contribution to the community but intends to take a few months before she decides her next roles. A former local newspaper journalist, Jaqui joined the district council as its information officer in December 1985. She quickly improved relations between the local authority and the local press. She became the head of the chief executive’s unit in 1992 and the head of partnership and strategy five years later.
Her responsibilities expanded in 2007 to include economic and cultural development, tourism and health and well-being.
She looked after the early regeneration work for Bognor before its now disbanded task force was formed. She was promoted as the council’s first female director last November in one of chief executive Nigel Lynn’s first moves.
Tributes were paid to Jacqui at her recent final full meeting of the council.
Arun’s chairman, Cllr Ann Smee, said: “In whatever roles Jaqui has taken on with the council, she has always shown the commitment and conscientiousness fitting as one of Arun’s key officers.”
Cllr Gillian Brown, the council’s leader, added: “Your experience and expertise will be sorely missed.”