Bognor’s mini-beach given the go-ahead

A mini-beach is to be created on Bognor Regis beach for next summer.

The beach on the beach project has been approved by councillors.

They wanted to see the sand play area with decking around it put in place on the shingle.

The location has not been disclosed.

The £20,000 cost of the one-year trial of the project is likely to be met from the £250,000 Arun District Council has put aside for capital schemes on the seafront.

The council’s Bognor Regis regeneration sub-committee were so anxious to see the project in place for 2015 they asked their officers to search budgets to ensure the funding was available from other areas of spending if needed.

Council leader Gillian Brown (C, Aldwick E) said the idea would boost the town.

“Let’s get on and do this. Everywhere you go, small children love sand pits to enjoy.

“It will be an attraction for people coming down here as well as for residents who are grandparents,” she told the sub-committee’s meeting in the town hall last Monday.

Cllr Paul Wells (LD, Aldwick E) said: “The sand on the beach is a great idea.

“Let’s just get it in place for next year. It’s a win-win situation for the town.”

But he called for the area to be a ‘decent size’.

“We don’t want a 10 foot square patch of sand,” he said.

Cllr Jim Brooks (I, Marine) said: “Putting a beach on the beach is a little bit incongruous but, if we are going to get something done, I will go along with it.”

He pointed out there had been plenty of sand on the beach for 50,000 years before the council covered it with shingle.

Cllr Ricky Bower (C, East Preston) said: “I’m not against the idea.

“It would be nice to remember Bognor’s sandy beaches but we have to do this carefully.

“I can remember in the 50s the sand coming up to The Esplanade and it was sand dunes.

“But, unfortunately, beach erosion and hydrology has changed matters entirely.”

This meant the shifting nature of shingle had to be taken into account.

Cllr Andrew Evans (C, Marine) said: “The beach is constantly changing because shingle does not stay still.

“If you are going to put a sand pit there, how are you going to protect it at the next high tide?”

Cllr Gill Madeley (C, Felpham W) said artificial beaches were usually seen in cities.

She said: “I don’t want a sand pit on the beach. It will be a waste of time.”

Karl Roberts, an assistant director of the council, said the ‘beach’ would be packed up at the end of the summer.

Councillors would decide if it should return. There was the need to ensure it was cleaned daily when in use.