Bognor seafront ‘improvements’ plan approved by sub-committee

Bognor Regis promenade. Photo by Derek Martin DM16122936a.
Bognor Regis promenade. Photo by Derek Martin DM16122936a.

A plan for seafront improvements, which includes new public toilets, concession businesses and moving the bandstand, was endorsed last night (June 8).

The decision by the Bognor Regis Regeneration Sub-Committee, if approved by full council, could see £640k spent in phase one alone.

Funding has already been secured for this over the past three years from a variety of budget allocations.

Caroline Gosford, senior regeneration officer at Arun, said: “We have commissioned an architect to look at all the existing regeneration ideas and put together a master plan.”

She explained it seeks to rectify the fact ‘there have been lots of things agreed’ but ‘no plan of where to put them’.

Phase one includes the already completed Beach on the Beach (£40k).

Four further points see architects commissioned create; ‘a holistic style guide’ for the seafront buildings (£50k), designs for a new toilet building (£200K), designs for a ‘new permanent concession pilot building’ (£240k) and designs for a ‘free-to-access’ play area (£100k).

These projects have ‘indicative timing’ outlined up to summer 2018.

Phase two, which is yet to be funded, includes ‘feasibility’ work on relocation the bandstand to Waterloo Gardens, plans for beach huts along Butlin’s promenade fencing and ‘easily removable permanent’ units/kiosks at Place St Maur.

The latter was met with some reservation due to the area encompassing the Regis Centre being a key site for ongoing regeneration discussions.

Leader of the council, cllr Gillian Brown, said: “I don’t want anything that might inhibit something that might go there.”

She requested the report was amended to reflect that and expressed concerns ‘it sends out the wrong signals to whatever might come forward’.

Ms Gosford reassured the ideas was to ‘animate’ the area and was a ‘temporary measures before the final regeneration’.

She said: “That is one of the reasons it is further down the pile, it doesn’t have funding and by the time it comes to fruition we might know more about what is to happen on that site.”

Proposals such as the beach huts were more positively received with cllr Paul Wells deeming it ‘a brilliant idea’.

He said: “If we can find the money to get them in place as soon as possible I think it would be beneficial, a quick win.”

The sub-committee chair cllr Phil Hitchins expressed his support citing a Butlin’s survey which showed currently ‘70 per cent of second timers turn away from this seafront and towards Felpham’.