Celebrating a decade of preservation in Bognor Regis

Supporters of the estate which put the Regis into Bognor have celebrated a decade of backing its heritage.

The Craigweil House and its Environs Conservation Area Association was formed on January 20, 2001, to ensure the area was preserved to respect its past.

The group has grown to more than 200 members and has played a leading role in the private estate around The Drive, off Barrack Lane in Aldwick, becoming a conservation area.

Further constraints on inappropriate development mean hard surfacing of front gardens or enclosing of front verges cannot take place.

Founder Richard Ostler said: “I formed the association with nine other residents of the Craigweil private estate, all of whom were greatly concerned by what remained of its regal heritage, history and architecture being destroyed by callous and greedy developers displaying no respect for our heritage.

“We were of a single mind and that was we must seek to have the whole original Craigweil House estate designated a conservation area.”

The area became the centre of much of the world when King George V and Queen Mary spent some three months there between February and May 1929 while the king recuperated from illness.

He stayed at Craigweil House, which was owned by the baronet, Sir Arthur Du Cros. The property is now demolished but was located at the eastern end of The Drive next to the footpath which leads to Clock House.

The king’s successful stay led him to grant the then Bognor Urban District Council’s request to add Regis to the town’s name.

Craigweil House was demolished and the estate built around its grounds.

But Mr Ostler and his neighbours became alarmed in the 1990s about the extent of development on the estate which they believed to be inappropriate.

The estate numbers about 250 properties. Eighty of the association’s members live in them. The rest either live in the nearby roads or have grown up on the estate and want to see it protected.

Mr Ostler has been a resident of The Drive since 1979. He said the association’s members scrutinised every planning application within its area.

“If we consider the proposed development or work on protected trees will damage the character of the area then we lodge an objection,” he said.