STUDENTS have welcomed the prospect of the regeneration plans bringing life back to Bognor Regis.
The Students’ Union at the University of Chichester has come out strongly in favour of the £40m proposals by St Modwen.
The company is expected to finally reveal detailed plans this year for its leisure scheme at the Regis Centre of a multiplex, cafes and bars with a hotel and flats and an expanded Alexandra Theatre.
It is also working on proposals for Hothamton car park in the town centre to include a food store.
Marc Slowey, president of the students’ union at the university, said: “News of this new development has begun to generate real excitement among our Bognor students.
“It is clear that new life will be injected into Bognor through its existence.
“Bognor’s summer trade is great due to it being one of the most beautiful and historic seaside resorts in the country.
“However, this is in massive contrast to its off-season performance.”
The 2,000-plus students at the university’s Bognor campus who lived and studied in the town were a constant flow of potential customers for its businesses.
That number was increased with the university bus with the Chichester campus – if there was something on offer in Bognor to attract those from further afield.
“We, the students’ union, feel that regeneration is key to ensuring that student money stays within the community they live in,” said Marc.
“An average student spends £10,000 a year on living costs while at university. This is something many other towns and cities take advantage of to raise money to support the local community.
“With the University of Chichester having more than 5,000 students, this can make a massive impact on local trade and can help local businesses really thrive in this tough economic climate.”
The Chichester Gate leisure park in Chichester was an example of the difference that new entertainment facilities, restaurants and bars could have in providing fresh attractions.
“This is what the students’ union believes is missing from Bognor and would be a great chance for Bognor to be put back on the map,” he said.
“This will also help to create economic sustainability for Bognor while also providing a lot of jobs which could help to tackle the high unemployment levels.”
Marc said the students’ union was also keen to work with the local community in ways such as staging events, fundraising and volunteering.
“With this mind, the students’ union is working to forge new partnerships within the local community and hopes to play a role in the exciting future that lies ahead for Bognor,” he added.