You’ve publicly stated that over £1BN of investment is already secured or planned. What is the breakdown?
Almost £600M investment is secured and being delivered on projects such as the University’s Tech Park, Butlin’s Splash Pool, three new 4*hotels and the Rolls Royce Logistics Centre. The new relief road has unlocked 1,350 homes already underway at Flansham and Bersted, and there are a further 5,500 new homes near Bognor Regis planned. Enterprise Bognor Regis will provide more than 100,000 sqm of employment space and flagship sites in the town are expected to attract major investment. Prime, iconic development projects are planned alongside major infrastructure improvements to key trunk roads which will enhance connectivity.
Where is the demand for the projects underway or proposed?
More students, more homes, more digital media business, more leisure visitors all point to more spending. The University of Chichester’s Tech Park is expected to have an economic impact totalling almost £176M by 2023. Bognor Regis is already changing with a clear vison and masterplan driving investor confidence.
Will Bognor's ambition for the two council-owned sites ever be realised?
Timing is everything and the momentum is here and now, with the first delivery phase happening at Pavilion Park. Strong support for the approved concept designs for the sites builds confidence needed to move to the next stage. Both sites are part of the holistic approach to development which is already paying dividends, with almost £600M secured for various projects in and around Bognor Regis.
Supply and demand criteria are fundamental to delivering a successful return on investment. With a population that is expected to rise by a third over the next 20 years and a 33% increase in property prices since 2011, Bognor Regis is already recognised as a strong investment prospect. Public realm investment in the town centre is being matched by private investment and the opportunity to be part of this is now.
Has market research identified Bognor has the capacity for investments proposed?
As a place to live, work and play, the potential remains exciting and the numbers don’t lie. Vacancy rate in the town centre has dropped from 14% in 2012 to under 7% this year and the highest ever footfall figures were recorded in the town with 140,000 counted visitors in a single week. £600m of private and public-sector investment is already underway on projects which will all add to the potential on the table, with £970M more planned.
How realistic are the town’s aspirations in attracting investment?
Confidence, commitment and creativity. The perception of Bognor Regis has already changed and the potential recognised. With the south coast starved of strategic sites and land for both homes and businesses, coupled with the overheated economy around Brighton, Bognor is in a perfect position to meet demand for residential and workplace expansion. Regeneration is all about vision and partnership, and Arun District Council has taken a positive lead in working with partners to drive and shape regeneration. It has also proactively put in place the enabling policy and strategy foundations to minimise risk for developers.
What are the main drivers of this regeneration/investment?
There is a strong commitment to encouraging economic growth and investment in the town and surrounding areas within planning policy. The emerging Local Plan (adopted in July 2018) reflects this commitment and will stimulate further investment in areas such as housing, industrial and commercial use. The strategic housing sites for the 5,500 future new homes around Bognor are included in the Local Plan, and the Bognor Regis Masterplan is adopted policy. For Enterprise Bognor Regis sites, planning has been de-risked through the extensive evidence base gathered towards a Local Development Order.