Orchestra head trumpets £80m regeneration project

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Director of the Sir Richard Hotham project, Thomas Elliott.ks1500451-2 SUS-150915-183624008
ks1500451-2 Bog Regeneration phot kate Director of the Sir Richard Hotham project, Thomas Elliott.ks1500451-2 SUS-150915-183624008

The Sir Richard Hotham Project turned up the heat in its bid for planning permission on Tuesday with a visit from a special guest.

Royal Philharmonic Orchestra managing director James Williams told Bognor town councillors the £80million regeneration plans were ‘amazing’.

The project includes a 1,100-seat theatre at Hothampton, which would be capable of accommodating the world-class orchestra.

Speaking at a presentation ahead of the town council’s planning and licensing meeting, Mr Williams said: “I really hope that in Bognor Regis you are able to take this really amazing project forward.

“It would be terrific and the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra would be proud to be a part of that.”

The orchestra receives Arts Council funding to tour outside London and holds concerts and residency programmes – featuring partnership work with education providers and community groups – around the UK.

Mr Williams said a funding bid could be drafted to ‘bring the very best of what we do to Bognor’.

His visit came weeks after the Sir Richard Hotham Project resubmitted its planning application to Arun District Council.

Planning permission was refused in March, with the low level of affordable housing and changes to the road network among the major concerns.

Director Thomas Elliott said he and his team had dealt with the issues raised and was waiting for Arun to validate the application.

He told councillors Arun had requested a planning performance agreement (PPA) be signed – a tool used to agree elements of the application such as timescales and resources.

He added: “I really believe that the important thing is to regenerate the whole of Bognor Regis, not just the seafront, and by regenerating Hothampton site with the new theatre you are going to have thousands of people walking between here and the seafront.”

The group’s presentation was viewed by a small selection of town councillors at the town hall.

The plans were not discussed and no questions were taken.

Mayor Pat Dillon said: “I am sure we will watch this space.”