Response to ADC's Local Plan

White paper May 31 2017

Bognor Regis Regeneration Board
Response to Arun District Council (ADC) Plan 2011-2031 Publication
Version


1.0 The Bognor Regis Regeneration Board (BRRB)
The Board was established in 2007 to act as an independent advisory body, bringing together
leading representatives from the key public, private and community stakeholders in Bognor
Regis. The Board recognises that a collective and cohesive approach can generate and secure
the economic benefits sought by those who live and work in Bognor Regis.
The Board has three key objectives:
• To collectively promote Bognor Regis as a great place to live, work, visit and invest
• To consider, give opinion and comment upon how to what extent planned and proposed
developments contribute to:
o the town's growth and development
o addressing and overcoming the town's socio-economic challenges; and,
o maximising benefits and opportunities for the town.
• To consider and evaluate strategies which impact upon the economic growth of Bognor
Regis and offer comment, opinion and where appropriate modifications.
Board membership is drawn from the major private and public organisations including the
University of Chichester, West Sussex County Council, Arun District Council, Butlins,
Landlink Estates and Sime Darby London Ltd. Board members have completed investments
in Bognor Regis of £120M and have further commitments of £70M over the next 2 years. A
full list of Board members and contact details can be found on the BRRB website:
www.bognorregisregenerationboard.com.


2.0 Executive Summary
BRRB considers that the Local Plan 2011-2031 provides a sound, well-reasoned and
comprehensive vision for Bognor Regis positively addressing the economic and social
challenges over the next two decades.
The Plan’s strategic objectives include strengthening the economic base, providing local job
opportunities through the provision of appropriate employment sites, better infrastructure
including road access, quality affordable accommodation and the development of business
support and partnerships, whilst reducing the need to travel.
This initiative will help address a number of employment and skills objectives to raise skill
levels, increase employability and address the longstanding problems in the District including
low qualification and skill levels which act as barriers to people accessing work.
The Board’s comments below will be focused on the major elements of the Local Plan
promoting the economic regeneration of the town.


3.0 Employment & Enterprise (Policy EMP SP & DM)
Arun District Council (ADC) has identified an Economic Growth Area in Bognor Regis
which will be the focus for investment and employment opportunities. There are four key
programmes: Enterprise Bognor Regis (EBR), Bognor Regis town centre, Better Bognor and
the University of Chichester.


It is important that employment initiatives are robust to assist in transforming Bognor Regis
from a dormitory town to a local economy that provides sustainable employment
opportunities for its residents. To safeguard this objective the employment land identified in
the Local Plan does need to be protected from an increased housing need over the period of
the Plan. The government’s Housing White paper (February 2017) suggested that if
employment land has not been utilised within 5 years it should be considered for housing.
This is contrary to a viable job creation policy and would have a negative impact on ADC’s
Employment & Enterprise initiatives as it often takes a longer period for land to be utilised
for employment and the ultimate creation of jobs.


3.1 Enterprise Bognor Regis
Arun District Council has worked closely with landowners to identify 68 hectares which has
been designated Enterprise Bognor Regis (EBR) primarily for B1/B2/B8 allocation.
Employment land is required in the local area to avoid Bognor Regis continuing as a
dormitory town with all that this entails – loss of income to the local economy, traffic
congestion, poor local employment prospects and wages, etc. EBR will provide accessible
sites to attract new businesses and also to retain local businesses that are growing. It is
proposed that the EBR will generate 4,800 jobs. The ‘shovel ready’ status of the Oldlands
Farm Business Park (one of the EBR sites) attracted Rolls-Royce Motor Cars to locate their
new facility in Bognor Regis. ADC is implementing a range of initiatives to simplify future
planning applications, including Local Development Orders (LDOs). The further planned
development of an Engineering and Digital Technology Park on the University of Chichester,
Bognor Regis campus, will promote and support partnership opportunities for local
businesses and generate revenue into the local economy.Both Rolls-Royce Motors and the 

Digital Technology Park will assist in creating higher

skilled jobs and a cluster of creative and digital technology start-ups.


It has been recognised over recent years that employment land needs to be identified and
brought forward to generate new jobs, reducing out commuting (about one third of Arun’s
residents travel outside the District), and the over dependence on low paid sectors such as
agriculture, tourism and low-level service industries. EBR has been designed to serve and
promote economic activity and consists of four sites at Oldlands Farm, Salt Box, Rowan Park
and the former LEC Airfield.

 

ADC recognised the benefit of implementing Local Development Orders (LDOs) across the
first three sites with the assistance of ‘kick start’ funds available from West Sussex County
Council (WSCC). The LDOs will grant permitted development rights for new businessrelated
development and allow owner-occupiers and developers to benefit from an
accelerated and simplified planning process and a reduction in planning application fees. It
will establish a regime of permitted development already conditioned to secure an appropriate
level of mitigation as required and a measure of quality assurance in relation to use, layout,
design and materials. It will not prevent or restrict other development (i.e. development not
permitted under the terms of the LDOs) which will be dealt with in the usual way under the
normal planning regime. The Lec Airfield site will be subject to a future LDO when
a suitable road access to the site has been identified via the Bognor Regis Relief Road linking
it to the A259 Felpham Way.

 

EBR is recognized and supported by Coast to Capital Local Enterprise Partnership (C2C
LEP). The LEP’s Strategic Economic Plan (SEP) optimises the use of public sector and
private sector investment, together with resources from Government and the EU. The SEP
identifies EBR as one of the most strategic growth locations into which investment will be
targeted, including a major investment programme in transport infrastructure. The SEP
identified 4,800 jobs and 92,000 sq m of employment space as a direct result of EBR.
The SEP also recognises within EBR the importance of the continued development on the
University of Chichester, Bognor Regis Campus.

 

3.2 Bognor Regis Town Centre
The town centre development sites provide the opportunity to change the perception of
Bognor Regis and reorientate the consumer experience from edge of town retail sites to a
more vibrant and exciting day and night time economy. The Local Plan’s vision for growth in
employment and new homes will bring a demand for the town centre to have improved
consumer choice and competition.


The successful development of the two town centre development sites; the Regis Centre and
Hothampton Car Park, will need to address this requirement and are fundamental to the
economic future of the town. Outline plans for these sites are covered in the town centre
February 2017 Masterplan Options Report. These ADC owned sites need to be brought
forward as soon as possible, subject to finance and planning considerations, with the
objective of revitalising the town centre fulfilling its potential as a sub-regional centre for
leisure, entertainment, retail activities with high quality town centre living. The potential of
the sea front location of the Regis Centre offers a unique opportunity for a sustainable
scheme to meet the aspirations of residents, ADC and visitors. The funding sources for the
development need to be defined in the near term to enable progress on both sites. These could
be a mix of private (development partners) and public (including Coast to Capital LEP)
The concept of Gardens by the Sea/Winter Gardens across both sites will provide an
important boost to the Visitor Economy whilst attracting local residents and businesses to a
more vibrant town centre impacting positively on day and night time economies. It will be
necessary to establish transport links from the new housing developments to assist in
sustaining the development and maximizing the local Gross Value Added (GVA).

 

3.3 Better Bognor
It is proposed to develop a cluster of digital and creative technology businesses based initially
around a digital hub at Bognor Regis railway station. The key facilitator for this is the
refurbishment of the station by Network Rail, with funding from WSCC and linkage with the
University of Chichester. This will assist in bringing higher skilled labour into the local
economy whilst providing the University’s graduates with employment opportunities. The
establishment of a digital cluster strengthens the case for Bognor Regis to capture new digital
businesses from the Brighton area as both higher labour and housing costs become
increasingly unsustainable in that part of Coastal West Sussex.


ADC, WSCC and the University of Chichester have commissioned a ‘Place Branding’
project to improve the perception of Bognor Regis as a progressive, vibrant destination for
business and visitors. It will be an important element in encouraging inward investment.

 

3.4 University of Chichester
The University has a dual campus model with sites in both Chichester and Bognor Regis.
This has resulted in a £12m Business School investment in Bognor Regis which has proved a
very valuable resource for local businesses and the community. It is demonstrably supporting
local business with its range of Continuous Professional Development (CPD) programmes
and its business start-up support services and incubation facilities. It also has experience of
supporting local businesses through Knowledge Transfer Programmes.

 

The success of the Business School has led to a further £35m commitment in an Engineering
and Digital Technology Park which is planned to bring 1,500 additional students over a three
year period to Bognor Regis with the first students starting in September 2018.

 

The Park will include a Department of Engineering and Applied Design offering a practical
project-orientated engineering workshop, fabrication laboratory, specialist 3D printers, and
hands-on education spaces for the schools and colleges. As well as a Department of Creative
and Digital Technologies with specialist facilities including a 300 square-metre television
production studio, with auxiliary 100 square-metre special effects room, and a 400 squaremetre
media operation centre.

 

This will boost the local town economy by an estimated £5m per annum, whilst ensuring that
employers in the area will be able to gain access to young people with the right skills in the
local labour market. The University’s plans are fully compatible with the Local Plan’s wider
regeneration proposals and economic strategy and will be an important element in improving
the local economy.

 

4.0 Transport Infrastructure (Policy T SP1)
The Local Plan identifies the need for an improved regional and local road network to cope
with the projected growth in jobs and new homes. The Government investment in regional
and local road infrastructure has been negligible in the last two decades. The main east/west
A27 trunk road has significant pinch points along its coastal route and is a proven deterrent to
economic growth in the Coastal West Sussex sub region. After the recent cancellation of the
Chichester A27 improvements the government will need to be convinced by local authorities
and businesses that funding has to be provided for local improvements: the A27 Arundel by
pass, the A27 Chichester by pass and the A29 junction at Fontwell where the A29 from
Bognor Regis joins the A27.

 

A major road project has been completed with the construction of the Bognor Regis Northern
Relief Road (BRNRR). This £26m route takes the A259 away from the built-up areas of
Bognor Regis allowing improved access between Chichester, Bognor Regis and
Littlehampton. It is significant that this project has been totally funded by the development of
750 new houses on Site 6 which are currently being built in the parishes of North Bersted and
Felpham under part of the developers’ Section 106 planning obligations.

 

The proposed generation of 4,800 jobs in EBR will require investment in the local road
infrastructure which cannot be solely delivered from the proposed developments. The
importance of the BRNRR cannot be over stated in enabling access to the EBR employment
land. This will be further enhanced with the proposed link road from the BRNRR to the LEC
Airfield site, which will open up this additional employment land and provide benefits for
access to/from the town centre. The Rolls-Royce Motor Cars investment decision was heavily
influenced by the improved access into the Oldlands Farm Business Park from the A259.

 

The Local Plan highlights the importance of the A29 realignment between Bognor Regis and
the A27 Fontwell junction. The primary purpose of the new road alignment would be to
alleviate problems of traffic congestion along the existing A29, notably at the Woodgate level
crossing which sees the barriers down to traffic for a significant amount of time. It would
allow housing and employment development opportunities to be realised, encouraging a
growth environment for existing companies and providing conditions to encourage new
investment.

 

The importance of this scheme has been recognized by Coast to Capital LEP who have
allocated £13m from the government’s Local Growth Fund towards the estimated £36m cost.
Further funding will be available from the strategic housing requirement for 2,300 homes in
Barnham, Westergate and Eastergate . The homes within close proximity of EBR
employment land will realise developers’ Section 106 funding obligations providing similar
benefits that have been generated from the previous Site 6 development. These funds will
make a significant contribution to the costs associated with the A29 realignment facilitating
improved local infrastructure for the new homes and businesses.

 

The road infrastructure plans are fundamental in bringing together ADC’s strategic vision for
employment, housing, leisure and retail in Bognor Regis. The main road initiatives: BRNRR
link road into the Lec Airfield site, A29 realignment, and A27 improvements need to be
aggressively pursued to ensure that future economic growth is not adversely impacted.

 

5.0 Housing Delivery (Policy H SP1/SP2)
The Local Plan’s strategic housing allocation supports ADC’s vision of encouraging more
working households to move in and be retained in the area. This will be achieved by
providing quality affordable accommodation, thus complementing economic growth with
transport infrastructure funding. The need for new housing to support local jobs and the
growth of the local economy, reducing out commuting is at the heart of the Board’s Charter.
The Strategic Housing Market Assessment concluded that the total requirement for new
homes in the Local Plan is 20,000 units from 2011-2031, an average of 1,000 per annum. It is
estimated that 3,050 homes have been built between 2011-15, an average of 610 per annum.

 

There are seven strategic site allocations which are within 5 miles of the Enterprise Bognor
Regis allocated employment land.
Strategic Site                                            Units
Pagham North                                              800
Pagham South                                             400
West of Bersted                                         2,500
Barnham/Eastergate/Westergate (BEW)  2,300
Fontwell                                                       400
Yapton                                                         400
Ford                                                          1, 500
Climping                                                       300
                                                                   8600


The impact of the increased housing allocations will bring additional pressure to public
services and infrastructure. Developers will make significant CIL and Section 106
contributions towards the necessary transport infrastructure in addition to community
healthcare, education, social and leisure provision.

 

The two largest sites West Bersted and BEW have important implications for employment
and infrastructure. The West Bersted development will generate 10 hectares of employment
land with access onto the A259 whilst BEW development is said to deliver the necessary
infrastructure to support the needs of the new community plus the A29 realignment to

provide improved access to the A27, major access through the strategic site and an additional
east-west route linking Westergate and Barnham.

 

The new housing developments are needed to support the planned growth in employment
identified through EBR. It is estimated that 23% of the working population out commute
from Bognor Regis, impacting negatively on the transport infrastructure. The harmonisation
of new housing and employment opportunities is a key requirement of the Local Plan,
reducing out commuting and improving skill and wage levels.

 

 

Prepared By: David Myers
Date: 29th May 2017
david.myers@bmconsultants.co.uk
www.bognorregisregenerationboard.com



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