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 was given unanimous backing by councillors.
Developers Hanbury Properties and the Langmead Children Farm Partnership will be able to build on 18.94 hectares of farmland between the existing A29 and the new Bognor Regis northern relief road.
A further 6.72ha will be put aside to create an artifically low area to flood and keep the rest of the loy-lying site safe.
Planning officer Cian Cronin recommended the plan for approval by the committee on February 12. He said the applicants would install the services and 190m of internal road to kickstart the area.
There will 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 Regis trade 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 for various business uses. These could include light industrial and storage and distribution.
These will provide between 710-1,690 full-time equivalent jobs.
But the mixture of uses would only have a limited impact on the regeneration scheme being compiled by St Modwen 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 the scheme would open an important area for job creation.
“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.”
The approved scheme varied from that originally submitted. It proposed shops selling an unlimited array of goods and pubs and restaurants as well as the commercial premises.