Bognor Regis is desperately in need of regeneration to reverse its reverse economic, social and physical decline, which is as a result of its fall from grace as a tourist destination, due in part to previous and to some extent recent poor planning decisions, and ADC’s obvious and hopefully soon to be historic bias towards Littlehampton.
There is no doubt successful regeneration will strengthen Bognor as a community and create new economic opportunities.
To date there have been a number of proposals but none as well considered and architecturally inspiring as those proposed by The Sir Richard Hotham Project, shown above, which is fully funded to the tune of £80m.
There are essentially three elements to successful regeneration:
• Cultural – leading to inward investment, higher resident & visitor spend, job creation voluntary, business and cultural sector partnerships for example the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra have already expressed interest with their Resound programme;
• Economic Social – change of image/reputation/residents’ and visitors’ perceptions of the town of the town, increased social cohesion bringing with it greater confidence and aspiration, improved health;
• Environmental/ Physical – quality architecture in keeping with its environment and drawing on the town’s history, incorporation of environmental improvements, development and use of mixed-use spaces.
It is obvious to me, the leisure, hotel and residential development on the current Regis Centre site along with the theatre and associated hotel and seafront restaurant meets all these requirements.
The theatre/conference venue which is already attracting interest will hold over 1,000 people who will spend money in the town, stay in local hotels, and eat in local restaurants, and not just walk along the prom and buying fish and chips as is the case with Butlin’s visitors who are encouraged to stay, eat and be entertained in the resort.