Billions invested into Bognor Regis

Half-a-billion pounds and counting – Bognor Regis regeneration is climbing towards the ten figure mark.

The extraordinary investment in the town has been tallied up as its regeneration task force enters its last month.

The final full-time and part -time employee will leave their town hall office on March 31.

Richard McMann, the task force co-ordinator, said: “Whatever challenges lie ahead, we have created a foundation and an environment for other people to build upon. This has happened during the worst recession in our lives.

“You only have to look at the watersports centre study to see the difference the task force has had.

“Would this have been done five years ago with Butlin’s, the University of Chichester and Arun District Council? Possibly not, because the spirit of partnership did not exist.

“Regeneration has promoted Bognor as a place to invest. We have now built up a track record of firms investing in the town.”

The task force was set up in January, 2007, by Arun District Council to provide a focus to boost Bognor’s economy.

The four-strong workforce led the efforts to promote the multi-million pound schemes on the Hothamton and Regis Centre sites.

Those have stalled in the recession and the depressed housing market. But developer St Modwen is still committed and has until March, 2012, to produce a scheme.

Entertainment provider Openwide is still signed up as well to the leisure complex which is intended to replace the Regis Centre.

Mr McMann said: “Regeneration in Bognor is not all about St Modwen. It irritates me when people say nothing has happened in Bognor. There’s £541m of investment to say there is an awful lot happening.”

Mr McMann stated the achievements of the task force at the latest meeting of Arun’s Bognor sub-committee.

Sub-committee chairman Norman Dingemans said: “I recommend to the full council that the task force past and present be thanked for their efforts and all they have achieved in moving the regeneration of Bognor forward between 2007 and 2011.”

Its members unanimously backed his comment.

This is the list of investments compiled by Mr McMann to show the task force’s work:

Butlin’s: £62m (hotels and waterpark); University of Chichester: £16m; The Regis School: £45m; former Lec site: £52m (including £2m value of retained site); Morrisons: £20m; St Modwen: £120m; Esplanade Grande and Compass Point seafront flats: £13m; Site Six, Berkeley Homes, Barratts and Persimmon: £210m; Hotham Park: £2.5m; Flex on the Beach: £100,000.