By Lotte Pegler
A make-over is in sight for the town as plans are put in place to make areas more vibrant and welcoming.
Directors of the Bognor Regis Business Improvement District (BID) have agreed a set of ambitious proposals for its third year of operations, starting on April 1.
The proposals include plans to make different areas of Bognor Regis town centre more vibrant and welcoming through the use of colour, lighting, extra planting and public art.
Ideas were presented at a BID directors’ meeting last week and are now being outlined to other groups in order to ensure that the whole town is on-board.
At an Arun District Council Bognor Regis regeneration sub-committee meeting on Tuesday, BID chairman Jason Passingham said: “I have a great passion for this town. A big focus for us at the moment is what we’re calling our ‘2020 vision’. We’ve got to be different, that’s how we’ll stand out.”
Jason referred to the success of the Christmas events, specifically the lights, but acknowledged that once they’re gone, people forget. “We need to do something that will make a big impact, something that people will talk about even after they’re gone,” he continued.
“It’s about how it looks, shopping has to be an experience now. If there’s no experience, people will turn their backs and go somewhere else, so we’re hoping to make Bognor Regis more of an experience.
“The BID’s plans for 2020 are very different from what we have done before, but are only possible now because of the work that’s been carried out to date.
He added: “Regeneration isn’t just about multi-million pound investments, we can all make a big difference by being creative and celebrating what we already have.
“The BID has the opportunity to do something really different, and really visible this year – to make changes that we hope will get – if not complete support from the local businesses and wider community – then at least talking points to keep keyboards clicking!
“People will talk about Bognor Regis, and what’s happening here.”
At the meeting, Jason also referred to the work of VINCO, led by Victoria Hidich, who is also working on re-branding the town, inspired by the findings put forward by Hemingway Design.
Speaking outside the meeting, Heather Allen, BID co-ordinator, said: “We’re really looking forward to sharing the proposals. We’re confident they will make a big difference for Bognor Regis businesses.
“We’ll need to work really closely and collaboratively with both the town and district councils to bring in the changes we’re proposing, so we want to make sure they’re all supportive – especially when it comes to conservation areas.
“There’s nothing more disappointing than going public with a plan you think people are going to really engage with, only to have to withdraw it because of a major objection.
“We’ve already done a huge amount of work behind the scenes to get the plans to this stage, and to make sure they’re realistic within the budget we have available, and are keen to get started with the delivery.”