The south coast area has limited strategic sites and land for development for both homes and businesses. Situated between the sea and the South Downs National Park, the coastal strip is particularly short of space. Add to this the overheated economy around Brighton which is driving prices there unaffordably high, the planned improvements to the A27 and A29 trunk roads, and its strategic location close to other nodes and Bognor Regis is a live development opportunity. Uniquely for this area, there is plentiful commercial and residential development land, and affordability.
Future Housing Sites
The Local Plan adopted in July 2018 allocates several major housing sites within wider Bognor Regis. Around Pagham 1200 homes are planned over several sites, and west of Bersted near Chalcraft Lane a further 2,500 homes are allocated, plus up to 3,000 more in nearby villages.
Gardens by the Sea: Winter Gardens at the Regis Centre
Arun District Council is taking forward ambitious plans to transform this site on Bognor Regis seafront. The plans include a 3,000sqm Winter Gardens with horticultural displays, cafe and gallery space, and a new theatre/cultural hub, creating an all-weather destination to attract all year round visitors which is fundamental to the concept plans. The bold and innovative proposals will unlock the full potential of Bognor Regis, and with over other major investments in place locally, the time is now right to take this project forward. As the renaissance of Bognor Regis gathers pace, this iconic seafront site could also accommodate a hotel/restaurant, a raised boardwalk seating area around the retail and restaurants to improve views of the sea and possibly a roof garden/performance space above the new theatre. There will also be high quality residential accommodation overlooking the sea with improved landscaping and a pedestrian-friendly environment, and stronger connectivity between the town centre and the seafront.
There are current funded plans for exciting infrastructure improvements locally. The main east-west route, the A27 currently has a single lane traffic bottleneck at Arundel, however central government funding is allocated to install a dual carriageway bypass around the town, with work due to start before 2020. The Highways England consultation on the various route options is complete and more consultation is planned for 2019. There are also planned improvements to the main north-south route, the A29, as part of the Barnham/Eastergate/Westergate housing developments, supported by £13m allocated funding from the Coast to Capital Local Enterprise Partnership. Improvements will include straightening and widening of the road and a bridge or tunnel to cross the railway in place of the existing Westergate level crossing.
Enterprise Bognor Regis employment sites
Enterprise Bognor Regis is the premier commercial development site in Coastal West Sussex. This 70 hectare mostly greenfield strategic employment site is located on the northern edge of Bognor Regis, and comprises four adjoining sites: Oldlands Farm, Saltbox, the former LEC Airfield and Rowan Park. All benefit from proximity to the new relief road which provides good links to the main trunk roads, with utility services in close proximity. All the studies, surveys and appraisals required for a Local Development Order have been undertaken, thus derisking the planning process for developers. The sites can support a mix of employment and business uses such as advanced manufacturing, light industrial, warehousing, offices and small business/studio units. Enterprise Bognor Regis will provide 108,500 sqm of employment space, bringing up to 4,000 jobs to the town when fully developed.
Oldlands Farm is already home to Rolls Royce, and planning has been granted to develop the rest of the site. Saltbox has recently been granted planning approval, and offers many options to businesses looking to locate here. Rowan Park is Arun District Council owned, and currently used as a caravan site which will be reprovisioned elsewhere to release this site for development. The LEC Airfield site is currently being used as a Gliding Club base, and will require an access road to fulfil the potential of the site, so is likely to come forward more slowly.
Saltbox employment site opportunities
As one of the key sites within Enterprise Bognor Regis, Saltbox has recently secured planning consent for a £34m business park, offering over 30,000 sqm of new floor space and the potential to create up to 1,000 new jobs for the area. Development of the first phase is already underway and includes a storage and distribution warehouse and offices for Warburtons together with fuel island, car parking and access roads. Phase two is expected to provide an 80-bedroom hotel, 540sqm pub and restaurant, two drive-thru restaurants, an 870 sqm gym and a large number of employment units to encourage businesses to relocate.
The Arcade - upper floors redevelopment
The Arcade was recently purchased by Arun District Council as an investment property, and to assist with the economic regeneration of the town. The commercial units on the ground floor are fully let, the long-empty offices on the upper floors will be redeveloped in future for some form of residential use, and the Council will be seeking expressions of interest. This is a prime location in the heart of the town centre, with close pedestrian access to both the University, the beach and local transport nodes.
London Road Car Park - Student Accomodation Opportunity
This underused Arun District Council-owned Lorry and Coach Park is located on the edge of the town centre to the west of Hotham Park and opposite the University campus, with an underpass already in place to ensure safe road crossing. The university Tech Park will bring 1500 new students to the town over the next few years, and there is an urgent need for new, good quality student accommodation. This site will be marketed for student accommodation in the near future.
Bognor Regis Town Centre and Seafront
The new Business Improvement District (BID - see https://lovebognorregis.co.uk/bognor-regis-business-improvement-district/) encompasses both town centre and seafront and will bring over £700,000 new investment to the town. The four priorities for action set by businesses are a well-known town centre, a welcoming town centre, improving the evening and night-time economy, and better parking. The catering and hospitality sector in the town centre is rapidly expanding and making a step change in quality of the offer, so there are opportunities for quality catering outlets who want to locate in a growth area. The quality of the retail offer is on the up from the previous value offer, and the town is attracting good quality national retailers so there is scope for aspiring retailers to come to a town centre where footfall is growing year on year, and the spend per visit is on the rise. Arun District Council owns various key investment sites within the BID area that will come forward as commercial opportunities for the right operators.
Gardens by the Sea: Pavilion Park
This development includes a new urban activity park, Pavilion Park delivering car parking spaces within a park setting. Arun District Council has approved £3.3m funding to deliver the new Pavilion Park and car parking, and the new park will provide a variety of activities for all the family, with new play areas including water play, adult gym and a market square for events, games and watching the world go by. There will also be a performance area, new café/restaurant, pop-up pitches for businesses, and lots of new seating and planting. In the future a major residential development on the western edge of the site will be marketed, possibly incorporating student accommodation, with ground floor retail and cafe/restaurants .