Bognor Regis bids for ‘Queen of Shops’ cash revival

A bid is being made to turn Bognor Regis into a national pioneer in protecting its town centre.

Arun and Bognor councils are joining with the town’s chamber of commerce to seek to become one of the first Town Teams.

A dozen of these will be chosen by the government to receive up to £100,000.

This will be used to enact some of the recommendations made by retailing guru Mary Portas, inset, known as ‘Mary, Queen of Shops’ after her TV series, to help the traditional shopping areas survive the internet and out-of-town retail parks.

But Arun’s senior regeneration officer, Caroline Gosford warned that the town faced a battle to succeed.

Some 450 applications for the money had been made three weeks before the March 30 deadline.

“We are going to do our best, but it must be recognised there is a lot of competition for this money,” she said.

“We have a good case because Bognor town centre meets all the criteria, but there will be a lot of town centres up and down the country saying the same thing.

“But we realise we have to be in it to win it.”

Chamber chairman and president Nick Stuart-Nicolson said: “We have a chance of getting the money because Bognor is in a unique situation.

“We have a whole package of regeneration ready to go and we have a university which is expanding along with a major company like Butlin’s.

“But our town centre, like a lot of others, needs all the help it can get.”