The projects include a ‘responsible visitor’ campaign, co-ordinated signage to help people navigate the town centre and seafront, the installation of brightly coloured, oversized flip flop ‘gateways’ to draw footfall to different sections of the town and a temporary ‘Picnic Park’ at Place St Maur providing extra outdoor seating until August 24.
As previously announced, the BID is, as one of the partners of Arun District Council, delivering a series of initiatives through the ‘Welcome Back Fund’. This funding comes from the European Regional Development Fund the government is making available to councils to support the safe return to high streets to help ‘build back better’ from the pandemic.
It builds on the Reopening High Streets Safely Fund allocated to councils in 2020, and forms part of the wider support government is providing to communities and businesses.
BID co-ordinator, Heather Allen said: “We’ve been working on these projects for months to get them in place for the summer season and it’s been a rollercoaster these past ten days getting everything physically installed. However, it’s so worth all the effort.
“Seeing the hundreds of people enjoying Place St Maur – meeting up with friends or having a coffee or a sandwich in what was, less than two weeks ago, a bit of an asphalt wasteland has offset all the stress getting to this point.
“We’ve had really positive feedback from the businesses and residents around the Place – all saying how much they’re enjoying seeing so much life and activity there, and it’s been really inspiring seeing all the videos and posts with people enjoying the space on social media.
“And we’re so pleased with the new, co-ordinated directional signage along the seafront and through different areas of the town.
“It may only be temporary, but it’s really going to help visitors find their way around, and, hopefully, investigate more streets and areas to experience our brilliant indie businesses.”
Responding to early criticism of the installation at Place St Maur on social media, Ms Allen commented: “Unfortunately there was a lot of misinformation being circulated at the start of the installation, which meant some people confused our temporary ‘Picnic Park’ with the future development plans for the Place St Maur. But there are really only two simple outcomes we were trying to achieve for this particular project: 1) make it look better than it did before and 2) create additional outdoor seating for local people and visitors to enjoy. Seeing the number of people doing exactly that – from across the spectrum of our brilliant Bognor Regis community – suggests we’ve ticked both boxes. “
Ms Allen explained the type of activities eligible for the Welcome Back Fund are very specific, so not all of the BID’s summer projects are via the grant: “The fabulous flip flop sculptures on the catenary wires and brightly coloured enhancement of the planter at Bedford Street were funded through the BID Levy – the contributions businesses in the BID area pay each year to make the town more welcoming, well known, with a vibrant night life and better parking.”
See what the town looks like - https://www.bognor.co.uk/news/people/these-are-the-colourful-installations-set-to-attract-visitors-to-bognor-regis-town-centre-3300728