Investment event hears ‘big things’ are set for Bognor

The university's Jane Longmore addresses the crowd at Bultin's. Pic: Arun District Council
The university's Jane Longmore addresses the crowd at Bultin's. Pic: Arun District Council

Calls to be brave and the importance of people power were the key messages at an investment conference for Bognor Regis.

Turning the Tide, held on September 22, saw designer Wayne Hemmingway, Butlin’s Jeremy Pardley, Arun District Council’s Nigel Lynn, the University of Chichester vice-chancellor Jane Longmore and Rolls-Royce’s Andrew Ball present why the town is ripe for investment.

The event attracted a sell out crowd, predominately made up from local council members, businesses and trusts. Among them was Louise Goldsmith, leader of West Sussex County Council, who said the sort of ‘team working’ being presented ‘is just want we need’. She added. “I think it is the start of something very exciting but there may be difficult decision to make.”

Mr Lynn outlined the investment to date and said ‘there’s £970m more big things planned’, listing the Enterprise site and 5,500 new homes in the area.

He issued a call for positivity and spoke of plans to use council land to the ‘maximum’, adding that London Road lorry car park will be marketed ‘soon’ and the possibility of developing Rowan Park caravan site.

Professor Longmore shared figures regarding the university’s ‘economic impact’ and the forecast this will shift to 42 per cent of £165.7m in Bognor’s favour by 2021/2022 – up from 29 per cent in 2013/14.

Andrew Ball spoke of the town’s ‘essential’ role in the Rolls-Royce business, which led councillor Steve Goodheart to ask if the brand’s signage would be put up at its Bersted plant to highlight the relationship – which was met with applause and a promise it will be looked into.