Tree-top cafe planned in Bognor

TEAS among the trees could be in prospect for visitors in Bognor Regis.

An innovative idea has been proposed for a tree-top cafe in Hotham Park.

The T-House scheme from the Making Bognor Regis Better group is intended to offer customers a unique view across the canopy of the historic park.

Nick Hopper, the project's co-ordinator, said: "Hotham Park is a lovely historic site and we want to utilise the landscape as it exists to offer people something different.

"The T-House will be designed as a unique tourist attraction and will help to define Bognor's image while offering an exemplar to the notion of sustainable, community led projects in the town."

Initial estimates for the T-House put its cost at 250,000-300,000.

The search for funding is underway before detailed plans to be drawn up by the group to decide the capacity of the cafe and its size.

A design team is also being formed to oversee the proposals. A working group is being put together to enable an expression of intent about the idea to be submitted to Arun District Council in September.

Preliminary and positive talks about the T-House have been held with the council.

It recently received outline planning permission from its councillors to enable a healthy eating cafe to be built next to the park's boating lake to replace the existing outlet near Hotham Park House next year.

No operator has yet been chosen by the council. The selected individual or group will have to build the new premises after detailed planning approval has been given.

The T-House is the first project in which the Making Bognor Regis Better group's more than 800 members have become involved since its formation more than a year ago.

They intend to run the cafe as a workers' co-operative to help the local community to realise its potential through social enterprise initiatives and ideas.