TRADERS have welcomed a seven-figure windfall to further transform Bognor Regis town centre.
Chris Heaps, the chairman of the town’s traders’ association, said the news of the £1.65m boost for the retailing area was a big boost.
“It will give us a sparkling town centre,” he said. “We are very excited by the grant. It is the icing on the cake as far as we are concerned.
“This additional work will make a huge difference to the town centre. It will bring in all the ‘poorer cousins’ of the London Road precinct like Station Road, the road section of London Road and the outlying parts of the High Street.
“There will be a clear path from the station to the seafront, which is fantastic. It has to be for the town and the traders.”
News of the £1.65m funding from the government was announced this morning. (Friday, March 7).
It will enable the current regeneration of the town centre’s public areas to be spread out over probably double the area.
The scheme will include:
* a new, welcoming station square;
* the continuation of distinctive street lighting and feature colour paving along Station Road and across the north of London Road; and
* the area in front of Morrisons being uplifted to create a cafe quarter.
The plans also include the sun sculpture being moved from the junction of the precinct and High Street and the paving and lighting being installed in the precinct continued to The Arcade and into York Road. This will highlight the site’s Edwardian architectural features.
The same design scheme will continue along York Road towards the seafront.
In Place St Maur, the tiered mound that works as a windbreak and outdoor seating area will complete the work.
The extensive work with paving, lighting, street furniture like bins and cycle racks, and planting will make the initial vision for the wider town centre become a reality.
Cllr Gillian Brown, the leader of Arun District Council, said: “At last, Bognor will get the town centre it needs and deserves.
“The town centre-wide design scheme created by LDA Design was resoundingly approved by the public during the consultation and we’ve had overwhelming support from the traders.”
The extra work complements the current improvements taking place in the precinct. This began last month and it set to last until the end of May at a cost of £600,000.
“When the work is complete, we are confident the redesigned public realm will attract new shops and shoppers to the town centre and encourage visitors to stay longer in the town.
“All of this will help safeguard existing businesses, attract new businesses to the town and provide the right environment for companies to create more jobs for the town centre,” said Cllr Mrs Brown.
The latest funding has come from the Coastal Communities Fund. It is one of the largest in the current round of awards.