Hooray for Bognor Councillors, hooray for Bognor Civic Society for their support and campaign to keep the Picturedrome and reject plans for a new multiplex cinema at the Regis Centre site. It must be obvious to anyone with Bognor’s cultural future in mind that such a multiplex facility is a commercial establishment run only for profit, while the Picturedrome is both a historical building and a cultural enterprise run for local people.
I cannot see how a Bognor multiplex, just six to eight miles from the one at Chichester, could draw an economically viable audience in the medium- to long-term. The operators would eventually walk away , leaving Bognor with another headache.
Bognor’s revival must surely be ‘bottom up’ and not top down in the hands of large-scale developers after profits from apartments.
Real regeneration will come from those individuals with enthusiasm and a passion for Bognor’s buildings and people. Just think how proud we could be if the railway station buildings were used by artists and craftspeople, if the United Reform church became a centre for dance and drama, and the Picturedrome was home for independent cinema.
And the Regis Centre site desperately needs a make-over and should be an area that provides two other major ingredients for Bognor,s success, ie good cafes and restaurants, and play facilities as suggested for all visitors when our weather is not conducive for beach and deck chairs.
If these facilities were in place, and of course they will take time to develop, then commercial ventures will follow in the form of individual shops, design and service providers, etc.
This is the way forward for Bognor, without large commercial developers, if at all possible.
I salute all those attempting to make it happen and you have my full support.
G F Bincham