Bognor Regis business calls for investment in arcade buildings

A report on one of Bognor Regis’ shopping destinations suggests its roof has ‘reached the end of its serviceable life’ and one business reported ‘buckets of water’ coming in.

The flat roof to the east of the Arcade, High Street, is ‘defective’ and can no longer be patched up, according to Arun District Council officers.

Periods of very heavy rain have seen water entering businesses on the ground floor and this has also damaged the vacant upper floors.

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Council officers say ‘urgent action’ needs to be taken to prevent further leaks or potential claims for compensation and works could cost £210,000.

Bognor Regis' Arcade viewed from the southern end (Google Maps - Street View)

Replacing the roof had been put off due to proposals to redevelop the upper floors, with ad hoc repairs taking place instead.

But with the £4.8 million proposals not deemed ‘viable’, officers said: “It is clear that the replacement of the flat roof cannot wait until the future of the upper floors has been resolved.”

Costs have been factored into the draft budget for 2022/23 – which is not approved until March. 

Council officers do not recommend passing the costs on to Arcade businesses as the service charge is already ‘near its maximum level’.

But businesses could one day end up paying for some of the costs if the building management decides it can be recouped.

A spokesperson for the council said: “It is necessary for the council to act in the best interests of the district which is why we leave the door open to discussing and exploring options with our appointed managing agent, while remaining sensitive to the needs of our business tenants.

“Tenants will be kept informed as discussions progress and any future decisions made will be in compliance with the terms of their leases.”

Harry Dixon is one of three owners at Cabaña Verde, York Road, which serves CBD infused coffee and cocktails.

The business is one of those to have suffered from a leaky roof.

“Over the winter we had a really quite severe leak,” Mr Dixon said, “We had six or seven buckets. 

“We’ve had it fixed since but the leak just left a bunch of marks.”

The business owner is not keen on the idea of paying extra charges because Cabaña Verde has ‘only been in residence for about six months’.

“Paying for something that should have been done many moons ago is not really something on our radar,” he said.

“I’m looking at it now and it is in a bit of a state of disrepair – the whole arcade is, it’s not just the roof.

“It’s a really nice part of the Bognor Regis seafront so you would have thought they would put a little bit of money and a bit of funding into it,” he added.

ADC bought the freehold for the Arcade in 2017 in a bid to fill the vacant units, improve the premises, and restore the shopping arcade as a ‘key attraction in the town’.