Briefing Notes April 2018

Briefing documents Jun 18 2018

Briefing Notes on Bognor Regis Regeneration Board Meeting

25th April 2018



1. Welcome

The Chair welcomed Paul Wells to the Board as the Chair of the Business Improvement District (BID), and thanked Professor Seamus Higson for tour prior to the Board meeting of the very impressive Engineering and Digital Technology Park.


2. Town Centre Regeneration

Regis Centre Site – dialogue continues with Whitbread regarding a land swap to put a hotel/bar/ restaurant on the site, alternatives are being explored in case a deal cannot be brokered. The council is supporting Arun Arts both financially and with regular meetings. Officers are looking at the viability of the theatre and the potential requirement for public subsidy, and will work with them to put the theatre into the best place it can be.

Linear Park – officers have been progressing the decision to deliver the park. The tender is out for the detailed design stage including planning.  A full procurement process was required due to the value of the contract, and an appointment is scheduled for late summer with a planning application expected before the end of the year.

Night-time economy - A vibrant night-time economy is a Business Improvement District priority, and desirable for everyone, including the new students who will start arriving this September. It has been reported that some businesses at a recent BID meeting felt that Arun DC Licensing was not supporting this aim.  Professor Higson explained that the new students will bring £4m to the town. In Chichester, the campus is beautiful, but isolated from the centre and outside the Roman walls, and thus does not feel part of the community.  The record of anti-social behaviour is exceptionally good at the University and is right at the bottom of university league, and well below that of local residents of the same age.  Lots of the courses are vocationally orientated with a strong focus on this in terms of who comes to the university. There is a BID priority to improve the evening and night-time economy; it is getting stronger and stronger but from a low start point. Arun DC’s Regeneration team are very supportive of the night time economy and are working with Licensing to gain a better understanding of our mutual priorities to try and engender more support, but theirs is a more statutory-ruled function. Paul Wells added that better liaison was also needed between the BID and the Police, and that the BID may ask Licensing to be represented on their evening and night-time Priority group.


3. Local Plan – Progress

There are no reported issues but the final report is still awaited and expected June-July, and will go directly to Full Council on 18th July rather than via the Local Plan Sub Committee to prevent delay. The document will be reviewed every 5 years.


4. Business Improvement District (BID)

The BID formally started on 1st April for 5 years. The Board of 5 Directors is meeting monthly to take the Business Plan into delivery.  There are Priority Groups forming to deliver projects against the 4 identified priorities. It was agreed to move from a written report to a verbal report from a BID Director attending the Board.


5. EBR Updates

a. Saltbox

At the request of the Board Nick Gibb has written to the Secretary of State in respect of the lack of transparency in the LEP grant process. Arun DC’s recent consultation response to the LEP’s draft Strategic Economic Plan included reservations around accountability and transparency. The Industrial Strategy will give LEP’s more power and more money, so a review of LEPs is coming forward.


b. Oldlands Farm

Change of use was approved for food retail (Lidl) and The Range. David Myers said he was disappointed as the “advanced manufacturing” site status does not seem possible.

It was asked if a Rolls Royce sign had been erected yet, and the Chamber of Commerce reported that the mound is ready and they fully intend to put a sign up.

The Chairman commented that the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) consultation currently open suggested that employment land not developed within 5 years should be allowed to go to residential which as we know from the Bognor Regis experience is too short a timescale.  It also allows shops and offices to go to homes without seeking planning change of use.


c. Engineering & Digital Technology Park

Professor Higson  reported that the development was on schedule for part-occupancy on 1st August with students arriving during the middle two weeks of September.  It is looking amazing and exciting, and the scale is huge; it will offer 33 new degree courses which is the biggest STEM course launch for 50 years.

This development is a great advert for Bognor Regis and investment. Also other University departments will have access to the facilities. The University’s stats are national-leading, but it doesn’t have the accompanying national standing, and they plan to really push the Tech Park out nationally to try and rectify this.


6. AOB

ADC reported that the Bognor Regis Investment website is being developed and will promote Bognor as an investment destination and opportunity. It aims to maximise the SEO optimisation and get Bognor Regis investment up the search lists. Jim Brooks reminded the meeting that the Town Council were investing £1m in the Picturedrome to create the largest screen in the south-east.

Jim explained to the meeting that Reynolds had agreed the use of the corner of the Depository building near the station for a heritage clock.  The cost would be around £16k and Jim said that crowdfunding would take place with Town Council match funding the project, and he asked if the Board would support this initiative.





David Myers

14th June 2018



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