Six storeys can be added above a Bognor Regis shop, planners agreed

Plans to build six storeys above a shop in London Road, Bognor Regis, to accommodate 104 students have been approved.
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The application, including part conversion, with access from Bedford Street, associated servicing and ancillary accommodation, entrance and staircore extension to the existing Wilko were resubmitted due to Covid delays.

Vahnea Marolda Investments LLP won conditional approval in June 2019 and then resubmitted the plans this year.

Arun District Council planning officers said the ground floor would have a part conversion to provide a new pedestrian entrance from Bedford Street including a lobby, new stairs and a lift.

A drawing of how the six storey extension above Wilko could lookA drawing of how the six storey extension above Wilko could look
A drawing of how the six storey extension above Wilko could look
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The first floor would have a part conversion of less than a third of the floorspace to provide five bedrooms with a shared kitchen, bin store, cycle store, a cleaner’s store and office/post room.

The ground floor of the new extension would comprise 23 new bedrooms, six shared kitchens, three stores, a laundry room, anew plant room and external landscaped courtyard space.

Other floors of the extension would have 17 bedrooms, five shared kitchens and three stores and the top floor would feature six bedrooms, a shared kitchen and two stores.

Officers said: "The total height of the extension is only marginally higher than the height of the lift overrun on the adjacent Morrisons Car Park which is approximately 26m high."

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They said the building might not always be student accommodation: "Whilst the proposal is to provide student accommodation, there remains a possibility that within the lifetime of the proposal there may be requirement for a change of use and that the under the terms of the proposal, the building could be occupied as some form of House in Multiple Occupation (HMO).

"The applicant wishes to keep their options open as to the end use and therefore have requested that a condition not be imposed to restrict the use to student accommodation."

Bognor Regis Town Council raised no objection but requested that developer contributions are put towards enhancements being made to Bedford Street, such as new lighting to improve the safety and security of residents. These enhancements should also include Fitzleet multi-storey car park.

One objection was received from a ward councillor on the basis that it is a significant overdevelopment, is out of character in the centre of the town and very contentious with local residents.

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In their decision report, Arun planning officers said: "The proposed development will dramatically alter the character of the local townscape however this impact will be positive, and the building has been designed to minimise impacts on the area to ensure compliance with the policies of the development plan when read as a whole.

"The development will benefit the town centre through increased footfall and through better natural surveillance of existing buildings and public spaces.

"The development is judged to represent design excellence and will help to establish a better sense of place to what is currently a service access to existing commercial properties.

"There will be no harm to the town centre, to the character of the area, to residential amenity, to the existing environment and townscape or to the safety and convenience of local highways.

To see the decision, go to Arun District Council's planning portal and use the search reference BR/38/22/PL.