New blueprint and cash boost will help benefit Bognor’s centre

A £25,000 fund has been created to allow Bognor Regis to benefit from a national blueprint for town centres.

The money will come from the £500,000 which Sainsbury’s is giving to the town to mark its return after 22 years.

The fund will be used to put into action the results of a working group set up by the Bognor Regis Regeneration Board to consider the Portas Review. This reported its findings earlier this year under the leadership of retail guru Mary Portas.

Richard McMann, the board’s advisor, said its members had set up a working group to see how the review’s reports and conclusions were appropriate to the town. The working group is expected to report its findings on May 3.

“It is evident the group will recommend a series of positive actions to the board,” said Mr McMann.

“I think many of the recommendations of the Portas Review were common sense. The biggest value for Bognor is that people need to work together in a climate of collaboration, cohesion and co-operation.

“That culture is already prevalent in Bognor through the regeneration board and similar groups.

“That’s shown by the membership of the working group with the town’s major independent retailer, Reynolds, and one of its leading estate agents, Parsons Son and Basley, joining Bognor Regis Ltd, Bognor and Arun councils, Bognor Regis Chamber of Commerce and the University of Chichester.”

Any actions put forward by the working group, and agreed by the board, will have to be sanctioned by Arun District Council. Its members agreed to the funding being set aside.

The council has placed Bognor among the hundreds of hopefuls for a share of £1m available from the government to boost town centres.

* A further £10,000 of the Sainsbury’s money will create a greater co-ordination of Bognor’s events and activities. This could be achieved by a common events brand used in shared marketing and promotion such as posters.