The funding means initial concepts for improving public areas at The Esplanade can be taken through the next stages. The scheme, which is being delivered in partnership with Arun District Council, could include:
- Landscape enhancements
- Improved highway crossing points between the beach and town, creating a more accessible and connected community space
- Improved connectivity between the Esplanade, the current Place St Maur improvement scheme, the planned renovation of the Alexandra Theatre and the seafront – all to enhance the experience for visitors
- Part of the improved Esplanade could be temporarily closed to through traffic for special, short-term events, in the future to provide enhanced opportunities for business, tourism and the visitor economy.
Steve Waight, the County Council’s Cabinet Member for Support Services and Economic Development, said: “The allocation of £431,000 for further design and survey work is great news and shows how our partnership working with Arun District Council is taking the regeneration of Bognor Regis forward.”
The regeneration of Bognor Regis is a core strand of the West Sussex Economy Plan and The Esplanade public realm improvements are a fundamental part of the town’s seafront regeneration area. This includes the planned renovation and extension of Alexandra Theatre within the Regis Centre, which has recently been awarded Levelling Up Funding, and the adjacent Place St Maur public realm plaza project, that received a contribution from the Coast to Capital Local Enterprise Partnership.
Steve said: “The co-ordination of Government grants and County Council capital contributions will enable the town to ‘build back better’ and shows how we recognise the significance of Bognor Regis as a seafront attraction, how we are supporting the town’s economic recovery and helping the visitor economy.”
Cllr Andy Cooper, Committee Chair for the Arun District Council Economy Committee, said: “We are delighted to see the allocation of this funding for Bognor Regis. This comes in addition to the recent award from the Levelling Up Fund of over £12 million to refurbish and extend the Alexandra Theatre and will go a long way to improving and reinvigorating the Esplanade area of the town.
“Ensuring that local residents and visitors have a fulfilling and enjoyable experience and that local businesses are able to thrive and grow is vital and we look forward to working with West Sussex County Council to make this happen.”