New lights for seafront put on hold for summer

IMPROVEMENTS to the Bognor Regis seafront lights have been put on hold this summer.

The volunteers behind the decorative displays have found themselves in limbo while plans are being compiled to replace the lampposts on which the illuminations are placed.

Bognor Regis Seafront Lights’ members say they are frustrated by the delay but the matter is outside of their control.

Secretary Greg Burt said: “We are only too aware that the quality of display in parts of the seafront is well below what we would like.

“But we are not willing to spend limited resources, given by local councils such as Bognor and Felpham and supporters, on work on displays on old columns which could be coming down soon.

“It is very frustrating and somewhat embarrassing, as we need people to continue to support us at a time while so many displays appear faulty.”

The members of the group hope a key fundraiser this Sunday (June 9) will provide a little magic to boost its fortunes.

Their annual garden fete will feature Bognor family favourite Nick Clarke performing free magic shows at 2.30pm and 3.30pm with non-stop balloon modelling in between.

The fete will take place from 2pm-5pm in the garden of Chestnuts in Ellasdale Road, thanks to Sue and Derek Trotman, who have hosted it since 1998.

Morrisons has once again donated scones for the cream teas. Many other businesses have also shown their support.

Bognor’s town mayor, Paul Wells, will open the fete and MP Nick Gibb will draw the winning raffle tickets at 4.15pm.

All proceeds from the event will go towards running the coloured displays which brighten up the seafront from Hotham Park to
West Park.

They were switched on at the end of March without any ceremony after the police refused to allow the occasion to be held at the same time as the University of Chichester’s rag day, though the two had taken place on the same day before.

The loss of the switch-on also meant the absence of the all-important bucket collection in aid of the lights.

But the uncertainty about the replacements of the lighting columns has been more of an ongoing problem for the seafront lights’ supporters.

They were led to believe the posts would be changed last year but it now seems likely the work will take place this winter. That, though, is subject to further discussions about their design.

West Sussex County Council and their PFI partner, SSE Contracting, will pay for transferring the decorative equipment from the old columns. Some were full of water and seagull droppings which had damaged their workings.

Mr Burt said the volunteers had been given money from the Sainsbury’s funding for the town centre to put in new decorations around Waterloo Square but the money would not be spent until the lampposts were replaced.