Call for a new Bognor Regis venue to host singers like David Bowie

Sir Richard Hotham Project's plans
Sir Richard Hotham Project's plans

WE DESERVE a Bognor Regis venue capable of hosting the likes of David Bowie and Elton John again, a town councillor has stated.

Cllr Jan Cosgrove said Bowie’s death this week had prompted social media memories of the singer’s appearance in Bognor 50 years ago at the former Shoreline Club.

He met Elton John there during one gig and Tom Jones topped the bill the following week. Also appearing there around that time was the Jimi Hendrix Experience.

“There is nothing in the town these days where we could have anything like that,” Cllr Cosgrove (L, Orchard) said at Monday’s meeting of Bognor Regis Town Council. “But it happened in Bognor in 1966.

“That level of venue is what we need now. But we have a dog’s breakfast of proposals from Arun District Council. There is no vision or strategy to regenerate the town.

“I’m absolutely aghast at the flats they have proposed for the Hothamton car park.”

The Queensway site should instead be used for a venue like the one proposed in the Sir Richard Hotham Project proposals.

He said: “The time has come for this town council to do something about ensuring the people of this town get real regeneration. We are not getting it.

“We are getting a mish-mash of things put together. It is not good enough.

“We can’t allow ourselves to end up with a regeneration that does nothing for the town, does nothing for the neediest people in the town, does not raise the town’s profile, not bring visitors in. This proposal from Arun does not go anywhere near the scope or vision of what we need.”

Arun has put forward ideas like improving the Regis Centre by expanding its theatre and adding a gallery. A pub, hotel, restaurant and flats would be built on the neighbouring seafront grassed strip. Student accommodation or staff flats for Butlin’s is envisaged for Queensway.

Cllr Bill Toovey (LD, Orchard) said: “I don’t believe we have enough input into regeneration. I always have believed the people should have some idea of what is happening to the town which they love and where they have lived all their lives.”

Cllr Steve Goodheart (I, Hotham), a joint leader of the 4BR regeneration group, said: “There are some amazing opportunities for Bognor but the leaders of Arun lack the vision and the strategy.”