'Time portal' could appear on Bognor Regis seafront

A new ‘time portal’ could take visitors to Bognor Regis promenade back in history, if recently submitted plans are approved.
Watch more of our videos on Shots! 
and live on Freeview channel 276
Visit Shots! now

The 2.35 metre tall, red aluminium archway dubbed the ‘time portal’, or ‘Bognor portal’, in planning documents, is an art piece proposed by Bognor Regis Business Improvement District (BID), and would sit opposite the Brewers Fayre site on the promenade.

The application says it will be on a viewing deck off the promenade, currently leased by Bognor Regis Town Council, and will not obstruct existing seaside views.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

The installation will be part of an 18 month, free augmented reality art installation showcasing Bognor Regis’ heritage. The project is valued at nearly £100,000, mostly ‘in kind’ donations from the local arts community and BID’s partners, and the hope is to make up any more funding from the Bognor Regis Arts Council.

Proposed Bognor Time Portal art installation. 3D image from Arun planning portalProposed Bognor Time Portal art installation. 3D image from Arun planning portal
Proposed Bognor Time Portal art installation. 3D image from Arun planning portal

The project is partially funded by the UK Share Prosperity Fund money awarded to Arun District Council, from national government, in 2023 – five per cent according to BID.

BID COO Heather Allen said Bognor Regis artist Matt Reed will create the experience by using the software ‘8th Wall’ to create their own digital ‘gallery’ space in Bognor Regis – with Niantic Labs, creators of Pokemon Go, allowing free use of 8th Wall for the exhibit’s run.

She said the exhibition would take place throughout the town over the 18 months, starting at the portal, as part of a joint ‘two pronged’ approach by local businesses and BID to improve tourism and business opportunities in the town – hoping to run the exhibition from March 2024 to October 2025.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

She said the exhibit would also see a Heritage Trail, which will include: “The proposed AR project on the main beach, the restored, full sizedoriginal bathing machine at the museum and the town council’s miniature machine on display in a new location.”

Augmented reality, or AR, is an experience that enhances the real world with computer generated content, with this AR exhibit requiring you to scan a QR code with your phone or tablet and then walk through the arch to view it.

The exhibit will feature a digital recreation of three wooden bathing machines, and Mary Wheatland, a Bognor Regis lifesaver and bathing machine operator from the 1800s, who viewers will ‘see and hear from’, according to the BID.

The medium of AR is causing issues before launch, however, with one resident claiming he owns all AR experiences based in Bognor Regis, via non-fungible tokens (NFTs).

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Ms Allen said the claim was only via one app, Over, where he had ownership of any AR experience in the town, but since the project is using a different software, 8th Wall, they were creating a separate, new space.

She said the situation was like: “If you have two art galleries and one is charging the other art gallery to see art from the other.”

To view the plans visit Arun District Council’s planning portal at https://www.arun.gov.uk/planning-application-search and use the search code BR/200/23/PL.