This is an advertisement feature paid for by Arun District Council.
Plans to transform Hothamton car park into a modern play and multiple-use park for people of all ages are gaining momentum.
Arun District Council says there has been overwhelming support for its proposals to transform the Hothamton site in Bognor Regis into a vibrant space with cafes, public spaces, gardens and water play.
Now the plans are entering a landmark stage, with Arun District Council working to prepare detailed designs of the how the finished park will look.
There will be a chance for the public to comment on the plans before they are submitted for official approval.
The aspirational regeneration proposals for the Winter Gardens and Linear Park – which will be renamed before work commences - will transform the town and help to change the perception of how people see it.
The exciting plans will provide Bognor Regis with a 21st Century play and multiple-use park for local people and become an attraction in its own right to visitors.
Fully accessible, it’s set to feature water play, space for imaginative play, a natural play area using reclaimed materials, a performance area, with an amphitheatre-style tiered grass lawn. This will sit alongside a central market square with seating, and a café with both inside and outside seating.
The park is designed to host a rolling events programme and there will also be a trim-trail for adults seeking to get fit, along with plenty of seating.
The site will be lit so it can be enjoyed after dusk and planting built into the park setting will obscure the parked cars, giving the area the look and feel of a park rather than a car park.
The proposal includes marketing the western part of the car park site to developers for residential use.
Arun District Council’s masterplan followed a public consultation in 2015 which sparked debate over the future of the site.
Hundreds of local people took part, with responses indicating strong support for the regeneration of the area.
Enthused by the feedback, the council went on to devise its masterplan for the area, taking into account the community ‘wish list’.
To ensure the quality of the attraction is first-class, and to reduce costs and start work sooner, Arun District Council decided to take forward the scheme itself, which is estimated to cost in the region of £4m.
In 2017, Arun District Council fully endorsed the proposals for a new landscaped park in the centre of town, incorporating around 200 flexible car parking spaces.
Then, in October last year, work began to bring the ambitious, but achievable, new park off the drawing board and into reality, including a well-attended public consultation exercise which was carried out at the Alexandra Theatre in the town to hear the views of the public.
Councillor Mrs Gillian Brown, Leader of Arun District Council and Cabinet Member for Economy, says: “The district council feels that it is extremely important that we invest in Bognor Regis; we see it as a top priority.
“The regeneration of these two important sites at the Regis Centre and Hothamton has been a long-held aspiration and there is public support for this.
“Timing is everything, and we feel that the community is tired of waiting for things to happen. We are confident that Bognor Regis is on the cusp of a renaissance; more than £70m of investment is already coming into the town from just two new developments by the University of Chichester and Butlin’s.
“We wish to drive this renewal on and the new Linear Park will be one further step in the right direction.”
Louise Goldsmith, Leader of West Sussex County Council, said: “Bognor Regis is a wonderful seaside town on our West Sussex coastline – it’s long been both a popular tourist destination and a lovely place for people to live.
“The county council is a great supporter of the project, and this regeneration scheme is an important part of the county’s economic growth aspirations for Bognor Regis.”
The park proposal is just one of many projects that Arun District Council is seeking to deliver, or is in the process of delivering, in Bognor Regis.
The recently opened ‘Play on the Beach’ play area on the seafront is already proving to be a winner with youngsters proving the popularity of exciting, well-planned parks and play areas in the town.
The new play area follows on from the success of the nearby Beach on the Beach sand play area, and the improvements to the historical Hotham Park, including an award-winning contemporary café opened in 2015 and a new adventure golf course called Wildforest Falls, which opened earlier this year.
Further investment along the seafront will see the opening of modern new toilet facilities before the summer holidays, as well as new cafes, along with other projects.
For more information, visit www.arun.gov.uk/regeneration-in-bognor-regis