Ideas for Sainsbury’s cash flooding in from Bognor

Ideas to improve Bognor Regis with half-a-million pounds are arriving with council officers.

A mass of suggestions about how to spend the money from Sainsbury’s have been made before the process of deciding which scheme will benefit has started.

Brighter Bognor’s members are seeking high-quality ‘transparent’ shelters on the promenade, a Bognor Regis camp site, music in the bandstands, ‘realtime’ bus information displays, covered areas in the London Road and visitor signs emphasising Bognor’s history.

They would also like to see a boost for large-scale capital proposals such as the café in Hotham Park and the watersports centre, a seafront gallery for local artists, craftspeople and students, improvements to street furniture and flower displays, major events such as triathlons and events/displays by schoolchildren and students. Town councillors, as reported, have put in their wishlist for a static hot air balloon, revamping the railway station piazza and restoring the Picturedrome among other things.

Arun District Council leader Gillian Brown said: “Suggestions for the use of the money have begun to come in and the process will start soon.

“We don’t have a date yet for the first of the money to be paid. The decontamination and cleaning up of the site will take a while.

“This is a very exciting opportunity for Bognor. As well as the money, it means this prime spot at a gateway to Bognor will be transformed, which is something I am sure everyone will welcome.”

The ideas will be sifted by the Bognor Regis Regeneration Board according to a checklist of objectives agreed by district councillors last week.

These are to achieve short, medium and long-term gains for the town.

The board’s recommendations, made in private, will be decided either by Arun’s lead councillor for economic regeneration, Norman Dingemans, or all councillors depending on the size of the proposed spend.

The Sainsbury’s money – volunteered by the retailer to help the town centre – will arrive in two equal instalments through a legal planning deal called a section 106 agreement.

The first will be paid when works starts on the site of the store at the former Lec factory on Shripney Road.

The second will come when the store’s doors open. A council spokeswoman later added: “Although a number of ideas and suggestions for spending the Section 106 funding on initiatives have come forward publicly, not least through the pages of the Observer, a formal process by which proposals can be submitted and discussed by the Bognor Regis Regeneration Board has yet to be finalised.

“The district council is keen to ensure that all ideas are considered fairly, and decisions about which proposals proceed are made openly.”