Hopes are high for a restaurant operator to open in Hotham Park

SIX hopefuls have been chosen as possible operators of a new restaurant in Bognor Regis.

The plans of the half dozen applicants for the unique eaterie in Hotham Park will be subject to further exploration by Arun District Council and its consultant, Colliers International.

They will be interviewed about their proposals early next month. It is hoped the preferred operator will be appointed later in June.

Norman Dingemans, who runs the council’s customer services, said: “We have been very pleased by the number and type of interest for this project, including from national and regional chains and local operators.

“By working with experts in this area, Colliers, we have been able to market what is a unique opportunity to a very wide audience.

“In the coming months, we will continue to work to negotiate to gain the best possible benefit for the area.”

Arun has granted outline planning permission for the new restaurant but the chosen operator will have to apply for detailed approval once the proposals have been accepted.

The destination restaurant will provide meals at lunchtimes and in the evenings to cater for a wide range of diners. It will offer indoor and outdoor seating.

It was March when the search began for an operator to design, build and run a venue which would complement the beautiful surroundings of the park and attract new visitors to the area.

A special website was set up along with advertisements placed in the national and local press to generate interest.

The result was a ‘strong’ response from which the six strongest proposals were selected.

The restaurant plan is the latest stage in the work to make the best of the park and its heritage.

It comprises some nine hectares, or 22 acres, and was opened as a public park in 1947 having been a private garden previously. The area has benefited from a £2.2m Heritage Lottery Fund grant.