THE arrival of a new boss for Bognor Regis has moved a step closer.
Arun District Council’s top councillors have agreed to allow the allocation of some £104,049 of funding towards Bognor’s town centre manager post.
The money has come from cash given to the town by Sainsbury’s to help stop any negative effect on the town centre by the opening of their store.
Speaking at the council’s cabinet meeting last Tuesday, Arun’s leader Gillian Brown, said the move was a positive one for Bognor.
Cllr Mrs Brown said: “This is good news for Bognor Regis.
“In the past our commitment to Bognor Regis has been criticised but the allocation of this funding and the £87,000 the council is contributing shows we are committed to the town.”
Norman Dingemans, the council’s cabinet member for customer services, shared the leader’s enthusiasm.
He said: “I really support this.
“It has taken us a while longer to get this far in Bognor Regis then it did in Littlehampton, but it is positive for the town.”
Cllr Dingemans added it was vital the new manager be located in a central location in the town so that they were easily accessible.
Cllr Mrs Brown agreed: “It is important we have a town centre manager located correctly.
“For for this to work the idea of an empty shop in the centre is a good one,” she said.
In order for the manager to make a difference it is thought they would have to be in post for at least four and a half years at a total cost of £250,000.
The district council has thrown up to £87,000 into the pot, with both Butlin’s and Bognor Regis Town Council contributing £40,000 each.
Ricky Bower Arun’s cabinet member for planning said it needed to be reinforced who would be in control of the manager and who they would report to.
Caroline Gosford a senior regeneration officer at Arun stressed the manager would be independent of both of the area’s councils and a multi-agency steering group which has already been set up would oversee the position.
This group is made up of representatives from Arun, the town council, Butlin’s, Chichester University, the town’s chamber of commerce and the town traders association.
The funding payment will be made to the University of Chichester who will employ the manager. Recruitment for the post is expected to begin later this month and they are expected to be in post early next year.
It is hoped the manager will act as a catalyst for a range of initiatives in the town.
The role would be the forth of its kind in the past 20 years.