The renaissance of Bognor Regis continues to gather pace with the Council’s endorsement of initial concepts being proposed in the seaside town. Although at a preliminary stage, the ideas presented on Monday evening by leading regeneration consultancy Urban Delivery to Arun District Council’s Bognor Regis Regeneration sub-committee, follows work carried out by an award-winning professional team on a feasibility study considering development options on the Regis Centre and Hothamton car park sites.
Karl Roberts, Director of Place at Arun District Council explains: “This study encapsulates the bold and innovative thinking we feel is needed to unlock the full potential of Bognor Regis. These sites have been waiting too long for the redevelopment proposed and the time is now right to make it happen.”
Significant investment already secured for Bognor Regis involving University of Chichester, Bourne Leisure and other parties already amounts to over £100M. This investment will build on the existing cultural and tourism attractions but add a creative and digital mix to support the expected influx of students and a younger generation of residents. The County Council are also committed to improving the road network and the District Council has secured grant support for major public realm improvements to the town centre.
Gillian Brown, Leader of the Council at Arun District Council comments: “Following extensive consultation in 2015 on what residents wanted to see on both sites, this study clearly shows we have listened. Our aim remains one of encouraging economic and social regeneration and to do justice to the opportunities presented by these key sites. Bognor Regis richly deserves the major investment which the town is attracting. New jobs, new housing and finally the new thinking needed to fully exploit the sites under discussion.”
Improving connectivity between the town centre and the seafront, alongside creating a destination which will attract all rear round visitors were fundamental to the options developed within the feasibility study. The proposed linear park for the Hothamton site will direct pedestrian traffic to and from the Regis Centre, which will also be promoted under the concept of ‘Gardens by the Sea’. Central to this is the opportunity to build a 3,000 sqm Winter Garden on the Regis Centre site, integrated with the new theatre.
The rest of this iconic seafront site could have a hotel, a raised seating area around the retail and restaurants to improve views of the sea and possibly a roof garden/performance space above the new theatre. There will also be high quality residential accommodation overlooking the Esplanade with improved landscaping and traffic management.
Further residential accommodation, including provision for some affordable homes, is proposed on the Hothamton car park site. The new park could provide a variety of uses for children and adults in the form of new play area, adult gym and possibly a boule/petanque pitch. Other uses could include water features, public seating and cycle routes.