Watersports centre is still in prospect for the town’s seafront

Hopes are still high for a watersports centre in Bognor Regis.

Arun District Council chief executive Nigel Lynn said he had met top executives at Butlin’s recently to talk about the multi-million-pound project.

“This is still quite feasible at the moment and is something we are still talking about. There is still a very, very good chance it will happen.

“It will be a new attraction for the town and it will bring in a new clientele. It is a way of getting different people into the town and spending money here,” he said at last Friday’s meeting of Bognor Regis Civic Society.

He spoke about the third hotel which Butlin’s is building on its Bognor site and its success before its opening in helping to attract improved bookings.

“Butlin’s is on the up. I hope we can work with them in the future so we can get the very best for the town,” he said.

The watersports centre is proposed for the Gloucester Road car park. A study by the University of Chichester showed it was a possibility and the university, Butlin’s and Arun agreed to jointly pursue the proposals.

No definite plans have yet been produced, but it is likely to cater for windsurfers and canoeists. A wave machine could also be installed to provide an all-year attraction for new visitors to the town.

But a way of overcoming the loss of parking spaces would have to be found.

Bognor resident Steve Goodheart urged Mr Lynn to ensure any regeneration proposals for the town improved the seafront.

He said: “The seafront is the jewel in the town’s crown. It needs to be looked after with imagination and creativity. St Modwen (Arun’s redevelopment partner) needs to do something on that seafront.

“If you only have a strip of tarmac, which it is now, it will just denigrate everything else around the town.

“The seafront is a unique selling point for Bognor and needs to be handled in such a way so we can get interesting activities taking place on there.”