A neglected seafront site in Bognor Regis is set to be transformed with a £1.5million makeover.
Water jets, seating, enhanced hard surfacing and a landscaped area are among the proposed features to brighten up the Place St Maur.
It will also include new underground power and data cables, and foundations for the Christmas ice rink, to enable events to be held there.
Arun District Council’s cabinet agreed on Monday to recommended the scheme to all councillors at their meeting next Wednesday to start work on the project.
It is envisaged building will start in autumn 2022 and take a year to finish.
Cllr Francis Oppler, deputy leader of the council, said outside the cabinet meeting: “This work is something that is long overdue.
“The Place St Maur has not had any money spent on it for years and years and has looked like a rundown builder’s yard for a very long time.
“It’s a key location on Bognor Regis seafront and the Lib Dem administration has recognised that and decided to do something about it.
“We are going to embark on a major refurbishment. It is a refurbishment. However, it is the first tentative step towards regeneration as well.”
The project’s intention was to encourage visitors to the town to leave the seafront, spend some time on the Place and go on to walk into the town centre as well as to give families an added attraction.
“The Place St Maur has always been recognised as the link between the town and the seafront. But nothing has happened there for 15-20 years and we are going to be spending £1.5m improving it.
“Finances are tight at Arun, as they are at all councils, but I’m sure the money will be found for this work.”
Consultants to lead the project are due to be chosen by this summer. Consultation with residents is scheduled to take place later this year.
The preferred option could be given the go-ahead by councillors early in 2021.
At the same meeting, Arun director of services, Philippa Dart, said work was still continuing on the council’s goal of improving the Sunken Garden after the current council scrapped the Tory plan to redevelop the site and the adjoining Hothamton car park.
“Further options for the Sunken Garden are still being worked upon,” she said in a report. “Therefore, the design brief for this project will be brought to a future cabinet meeting.”
Cllr Hugh Coster (I, Aldwick E), who has led community efforts to regenerate the sites, said: “What is planned for the Place St Maur is good news, but we want to see the site being part of an overall project for regeneration.
“People should be asked for new ideas because times have changed and peoples’ ideas have changed.
“We have to have a coherent plan to make Bognor Regis look good. The Place has to play an important part in that.”