Fine dining on the menu for Bognor Regis park

Posh nosh is on its way to the unique setting of Bognor Regis’s award-winning park.

A Euro-wide search is to start to find an operator to open the first restaurant amid the splendour of Hotham Park.

The hope is a top restaurateur will be attracted by the prospect of serving up some fine food in the historic heart of Bognor.

The destination restaurant represents the next chapter in the popular park’s restoration and is intended to attract more visitors to the town.

Arun District Council will soon formally launch the search for ideas for the cafe.

Council regeneration boss Norman Dingemans said: “This is a great opportunity to further enhance the restoration work by adding a special destination restaurant that would give another reason to come to Bognor and the beautiful location of Hotham Park.

“We are looking for the right partner to create this restaurant in the park which will maximise the regeneration benefit for the town and improve the range and quality and facilities for both residents and visitors.”

The idea of a park restaurant arose when research for the park’s £2.2m restoration took place in 2007.

This led to outline planning permission for the restaurant being sought by the council and granted in June 2010. The restaurant will have 300sq m of room to serve 40 customers inside and about 30 outdoors.

The restaurant could open in two years at the 22-acre park, which opened in 1947.

Arun expects family food to be served in the day and an à la carte menu at night.

The council is working with consultants Colliers International to attract bids to design, build and run the restaurant.

An operator should be chosen by the end of this summer.

Among those interested is Bognor architect Nick Hopper who unveiled an eye-catching treehouse restaurant for the park two years ago.

He said: “I will certainly be interested in finding out more about this opportunity.

Rosemary Warren, chairman of Hotham Park Heritage Trust, said: “We are very much in favour of the restaurant.”