Town centre cash moves step closer

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A £1.5M BOOST to Bognor Regis town centre is just a decision away.

The shopping area will gain the money if civil servants believe it has the greater potential to help the town – more than the schemes of two rivals.

The public realm initiative to brighten up the London Road precinct and its surrounding area has been shortlisted in the contest to receive the backing from the government.

It is up against two other contenders for the share of the coastal communities fund from the department for communities and local government.

Cllr Norman Dingemans, in charge of Arun District Council’s customer services, said the success in passing the initial assessment of bids showed the project was worthwhile: “This is really good news. If we do receive the money, it will be in time for the winter to enable the work to be done then,” he said.

“We already have the money to improve the London Road precinct.

“If we are awarded the coastal communities funding, it will enable us to extend the work from the precinct to the railway station in one direction and through The Arcade to the seafront in the other at the same time.

“We will be able to do all the work together. This will enable us to link the station to the seafront, which will be really good.”

The scheme was displayed to the residents last March and gained approval ratings around 90 per cent.

The aim is to strengthen the key route between the station and the seafront, enable families to stay longer, make it easier to walk around, attract more and higher-spending customers and create a vibrant and attractive area with improved signs, co-ordinated street furniture and high-quality lighting.

The work in the precinct is already funded with £650,000 from Sainsbury’s, Arun and West Sussex councils.

Arun’s leader, Cllr Gillian Brown, announced the latest result from the funding bid at the full meeting of the council last Wednesday.

“This is extremely positive. Our officers have three months to work up a more detailed bid for the funding,” she said.