More than 100 people attended the first-ever Bognor Regis Conference to hear speakers enthuse about how the town is ripe for investment and development.
Held at Butlin’s on Friday, speakers included design-guru Wayne Hemingway MBE, who is working on four major projects in the town, and Andrew Ball from Rolls-Royce Motor Cars Ltd, which has a technology and logistics hub in the resort.
Delegates were shown the Council’s vision for Bognor Regis, which includes spectacular Winter Gardens with a new theatre and cultural hub, along with botanical displays.
After lunch, a tour of Butlin’s was led by Resort Director Jeremy Pardey, who also spoke at the conference telling delegates, “The people are the heart of any town or business, it’s a partnership.” He also unveiled plans for the £35m Splash Pool which is set to open at the resort in 2019.
There was also a tour of the town centre by fellow speaker, Town Centre Manager Toyubur Rahman, who recently ran a successful campaign to establish a Business Improvement District [BID] in the town, which will mean investment of more than £700,000 in projects and the management of Bognor Regis Town Centre over the next five years.
He told the conference he was committed to making Bognor Regis “better for business”.
Held on 22 September 2017, the conference was organised on the back of a project launched by HemingwayDesign, to develop a place brand for the town in order to promote positive messages about what Bognor Regis stands for. To take part in the survey, visit https://bognorregis.hemdesengagement.co.uk/
At the conclusion of the conference, delegates said they felt well-informed about all the regeneration projects happening in the town and felt positive about the future of Bognor Regis and its potential to become one of the UK’s leading destinations.
Councillor Mrs Gillian Brown, Leader of Arun District Council and Cabinet Member for Economy, said: “We were delighted with the level of interest and the turnout at the conference, which was extremely well-received by delegates. The speakers on the day really captivated the audience and encouraged people to see Bognor Regis in a new light.
“We strongly believe that the town is ripe for regeneration and that the time is right to attract major investment to Bognor Regis to help transform the town.”
- Major investment has already come to Bognor Regis with the three new 4*hotels at Butlin’s totalling £76m, £14m on new facilities on the University of Chichester campus at Bognor Regis, £29m on a relief road as part of a 1,350 strong housing development taking through-traffic out of the town centre, the new Rolls-Royce Motor Cars Logistics Centre, and £13m for two stylish award-winning seafront apartment developments
- A £2.8 million scheme to enhance the public realm has reinvigorated the town centre and boosted the local economy
- The main shopping area now has new paving, seating, planting and lighting, and the introduction of a pedestrian precinct suitable for hosting large events such as the Aerial Birdman Zip Wire. The work was financed by £1.649 million from the Coastal Communities Fund, together with more than £1million from Arun District Council, West Sussex County Council and other partners
- The vacancy rate in the town centre has dropped from 14% in 2012 to its current level of 8-9% and this year saw the highest ever footfall figures in the town with 140,000 counted visitors in a single week
- Work is currently underway on other major projects, such as the creation of the new £36m ‘Tech Park’ on the University of Chichester’s Bognor Regis campus and the £35m world-class splash pool at Butlin’s
- Investment opportunities abound locally, with a strong supply of commercial land coming forward for development at affordable rates, and local residential development sites for 5,500 new homes included in the Local Plan