New look for seafront is subject of review

NEW life could be breathed into Bognor’s seafront after experts were tasked to come up with plans for a radical revamp.

Consultants have been appointed to look at how the concessions along the promenade can be given new life to make the key area more attractive.

The firm chosen, Colliers International, produced the recent leisure strategy for Arun District Council in which the seafront was labelled shabby.

The new report by the company was revealed by Arun’s senior economic development officer, Anthony Everitt.

He said most of the concessions had been arranged to expire in 2014. This gave the council the chance to make some major changes to the mile-plus of seafront between Gloucester Road and the Rock Gardens.

Colliers’ brief was to devise a strategy for the some 14 concessions about their siting and their products.

“One of the key recommendations in the leisure strategy was to look at the concessions on the seafront because they were performing poorly in terms of what they look like and the diversity of what they sell,” Mr Everitt told the council’s leisure, tourism and infrastructure working group last week.

“We can make a really tangible difference on Bognor seafront for the summer of 2015. It’s an opportunity to have a whole new suite of pleasing and quality concessions offering a diverse range of goods on the seafront. There is a lot of work to get us to that point but it is in train.”

There would be the chance for the existing concession holders and the public to have their say about the new approach, he said.

The council could either have the concessions built after a design contest for architects or it could expect the traders to build their own to a set design. A report by should be ready in June.

Cllr Sandra Daniells said: “This all sounds promising but, at the moment, a lot of concession holders in Bognor are very unhappy.

“There are huge problems there at the moment. None of them are very happy.

“A lot of them say they want to invest and some of them have got big ideas. Because of the uncertainty after 2014, what is going to happen?

“Things are going to look pretty tired for the next two years. I hope Colliers will go there and talk to the concession holders. They have got to sell the things people want to buy. The town’s not suddenly going to become rich overnight.”

Working group chairman Dr James Walsh said it was important the length of the leases enabled those who were on the seafront to get a return on their investment.

“That is the best way to treat them rather than seeing them as some sort of cash cow to make money for the council,” he said.