Town centre manager wants to create recipe for success

TOWN centre manager Toyubur Rahman wants to cook up a treat for diners in Bognor Regis.

He has applied for a street trading licence for the London Road precinct to enable him to enable temporary restaurants to be opened there.

He said: “The licence will enable me to put on things like markets, technology fairs, pop-up restaurants for evening dining with entertainment and crafts and arts events.

“Everyone tells me there are no restaurants in the town centre so I will give them some.”

He recently submitted his application to Arun District Council for approval he told the council’s Bognor regeneration sub-committee last Wednesday.

“Having that licence will enable me to have a little bit of control over what goes in and out of that town centre as well,” he said.

“We need to keep people in the town centre and to make sure they can socialise there and enjoy themselves which they can’t do in the out-of-town sites or on the internet.

Part of his plan is working with Bognophenia to stage monthly entertainment in the precinct. The third event is from 11am this Saturday with a range of performers in a small marquee at the High Street junction.

“I’ve had really good feedback from the businesses and from residents and visitors,” he said. “They have come into town and, if they have not expected the event, it gives them a bit of joy and happiness.

“Hopefully, it will mean they stay longer in the town centre.

“I’m confident I can increase the footfall in the town centre. What I can’t do is make those people go into the shops. That’s down to the retailers.”

He said he had worked with three retailers to smarten their premises to create a cleaner and more welcoming area. More would be approached.

He is also going to stage a showcase in the spring in which marketing agents, landowners and retailers would be invited to Bognor.

“I want to show them what we have got in Bognor and to sell the town to them to get them to take a punt and come here,” he said. His work since May when he was appointed in a public/private partnership was welcomed by the sub-committee’s members.

Vice-chairman Phil Hitchins (C, Aldwick W) said: “I look on you as being one of the keys of Bognor. You are there every day and you have a vision, which we can see, about how Bognor can develop.”

Cllr Jim Brooks (I, Marine) said: “I’m delighted we have got a town centre manager after 25 years with the backing to get things done.”