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Bandstand verdict due soon

A DECISION about moving the bandstand on Bognor Regis seafront is set to be made soon.


The debate on relocating the historic structure is due to take place in the next three months.


A feasilbity study into the possibility was resumed this week, the Post can reveal, after a halt to the work was ordered in the early summer.


The councillor behind that decision, Bognor Regis regeneration sub-committee chairman Phil Hitchins, said it was important to find out as soon as possible if the bandstand could be placed at Arun District Council’s preferred location of Waterloo Square Gardens.


Cllr Hitchins (C, Aldwick W) said: “I have given the go-ahead for the feasibility study to be re-started. We can’t do anything at that end of the promenade until we know if the bandstand can be moved.


“The study will be carried out by the council’s engineers so it should not take too long, though they are busy with work on the Hothamton linear park plans and the Regis Centre sites for the regeneration and other schemes.


“If we can move it, that will be a decision that will come to the sub-committee. We will have an extra meeting in December and get the bandstand sorted in January.


“If we can’t move it, the council might have to consider changing its strategy for the seafront. But at least we will know.


“Until we do that feasibility study, we are just in abeyance. Everything is up in the air.”


The potential move of the bandstand has been controversial with seafront residents and some councillors since it was suggested a year ago.


Arun wants the change of location because the site the Grade II-listed bandstand has occupied since 1948 is on the widest part of the promenade.


In the council’s Bognor Regis seafront strategy, it foresees that area as a zone for businesses.


At Arun’s overview select committee on Tuesday, property and estates manager Paul Broggi was asked to carry out a review of the concessions operated on council land.


Mr Broggi told the committee the uncertainty about the bandstand was delaying implementing the strategy.


“The council has a budget to build the first concession there and that will set the template for what the council would like to see on the seafront,” he said.


“We hope this will encourage others along the seafront once we are able to offer them longer leases.


“But whether the bandstand stays or is relocated will affect where the stalls are.”


Mr Broggi said Arun had taken back direct control of the licences or leases of the businesses run on its land or premises on April 30 after several years of the work being carried out on its behalf by Chichester District Council.


Cllr Anne Rapnik (UKIP aligned with the Independents, Bersted) said she believed the seven food stalls between the pier and Gloucester Road were too many.


Cllr Barbara Oakley (C, Middleton) said more seafront businesses should be open throughout the year.

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