Designs to improve Bognor Regis sunken gardens to be put to public

A project to redesign and refurbish Bognor Regis’ sunken gardens is set to be opened up for consultation.

Sunken gardens (Photo from Google Maps Street View)
Sunken gardens (Photo from Google Maps Street View)

Plans were approved at a full meeting of Arun District Council in January and further details are set to be discussed during the environment and neighbourhood services committee on Thursday (September 23).

Proposed designs for the gardens will also be presented at the meeting.

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A consultation will then be launched this autumn so that members of the public can have their say on the designs.

It is hoped that detailed designs and preparations to put the works out to tender will be completed by early 2022. Works are planned to take place between summer and autumn next year.

Up to £500,000 was allocated for the project, which includes consultant fees, but the council hopes to deliver the makeover for £300,000.

The existing play area will be removed, replaced and relocated and a new southern entrance installed.

Planting borders will also be refurbished and it is hoped that new ‘contemporary’ seating will be included in the designs.

Retaining and refurbishing the sunken gardens was a Liberal Democrat election promise in 2019.

Matt Stanley (LDem, Marine) said: “Regardless of who is in charge, the community made their feelings clear on this subject and that has to be honoured.

“The sunken gardens are a much-loved and essential community green space in central Bognor Regis. They are a heritage site and despite this they have been neglected from any real investment for years.

“If it wasn’t for the Bognor Community Gardeners stepping in, they would be nothing like they are today.

“I can only hope that the new administration delivers what the community asked for and committee members vote accordingly.”

Mr Stanley said he was ‘disappointed at the significant reduction in the budget’ but council leader Shaun Gunner (Con, Rustington East) said the project had not been reduced in scope.

Mr Gunner explained: “Councillor Stanley and the then Liberal Democrat-Independent cabinet agreed to a budget of £500,000.

“Projects often come in under budget and I’m pleased to say, under the Conservatives, we have come in significantly under budget whilst achieving the objectives as laid out.

“This is good news for council taxpayers and for the people of Bognor Regis.

“I think the public expect us to achieve value for money, and don’t just think that more money makes a more successful project.

“Do the Liberal Democrats just want to spend as much money as possible?”

A discussion on the sunken gardens will take place during a meeting of the environment and neighbourhood services committee on Thursday (September 23) which can be watched vie live-stream here: