Wish list put together for Bognor’s future

A hot-air balloon, promotional signs and a pristine Picturedrome are among the ideas for Bognor Regis to gain from the arrival of Sainsbury’s.

A total of 12 ideas, as well as free car parking in the town centre, have been put forward by town councillors to benefit from the £500,000 which the retailer is giving on improvement projects in the traditional shopping area.

The list was agreed by the councillors on Monday and will be sent to Arun District Council.

They will be judged against previously published criteria set by Arun to see if they should qualify for some of the cash.

Town councillor Paul Wells said: “Arun have got to be mindful of the impact Sainsbury’s will have on the town centre.

“I don’t want to see the money being spent on their pet projects and spent here and there.

“Half a million pounds is not a lot of money in the real world in terms of what you can get for it. It needs to be spent wisely.”

Cllr Ken Scutt said his vision of a restored Picturedrome would add to the attractions of the town centre.

“This would include the paintwork, glass canopy, entrance, foyer, pointing brickwork and, of course, the light in the revolving turret, but not the interior,” he said.

Cllr Eileen Anderson has supported a hot-air balloon in summer and a small skating rink for winter: “They work very well in other towns and, as we are not having regeneration for some time, we need to get activities for visitors and locals when they do visit us.”

The ideas on the town council’s list in addition to the free parking are:

* ten bollard-mounted noticeboards in town-centre car parks and other prominent sites – a bid for £18,500 from Arun has been made for this scheme;

* three remoted-controlled LED signs – a £27,000 bid from Arun has been made for this scheme;

* revamping the railway station forecourt by removing all trees and installing a giant fountain;

* installing a lift in the library to enable the first floor to become an art gallery.

* restoring the Picturedrome;

* an ‘open sports week’ in 2012 to encourage the general public to take up sports;

* a possible ‘Bognor Regis North’ railway station on Oldlands Farm;

* setting up a wi-fi network for the seafront and town;

* better signage;

* a hot-air balloon for summer and a small skating rink for the winter;

* encouraging small businesses to occupy empty shops by paying a portion of the rent.