‘Just make it happen’ and ‘make it fun, green, funky and inviting’ were a couple of the comments received from the public during the consultation into the £1.8m project.
During a meeting of the cabinet on Monday (March 22), councillors approved the preferred design from consultants LUC.
Those designs will see the current rather tatty tarmac replaced with multi-coloured paving in a wave effect, with landscaping, trees in pots, water jets, lighting and seating completing the improvements.
Councillors were pleased to hear there will also be space to hold events such as the popular festive season ice rink which has drawn the crowds over the past few years.
The design took a mixture of features from the two options put out to consultations, which attracted 337 responses from the public.
Martin Lury, cabinet member for planning, told the meeting: “It’s not just about tourists, it’s about the locals.
“The response has been incredible and the recurring theme of ‘make it happen’ means there’s definitely local will for the project.”
Having received approval, the design will now be frozen to ensure there are no unexpected costs later down the line.
It will be put out to tender shortly, with companies asked to submit their bids to deliver the project.
Leader Dr James Walsh said: “I think this is going to be a great boost both to the appearance of the site but, much more importantly than that, to the feeling and morale of long-term residents of Bognor Regis and to summer visitors to give them more reason to stay in the town, spend money in business and shops.”
The project costs will be covered by a £1.2m grant from Coast to Capital, a £370k contribution from the council as part of that grant allowance and £237k from the revenue budget.
The consultation included the concept of making changes to the Esplanade, such as closing part of it to traffic.
The meeting was told that this idea proved popular with the public and it was hoped that a traffic survey could be carried out this summer to find out if the idea was workable.
After the meeting, Samantha-Jayne Staniforth, Arun’s cabinet member for neighbourhood services, said: “Sadly this key area of our coastal town has been left unloved for many years, so it’s been exciting to see the plans develop. LUC designers have produced something very special that will not only uplift the town for our residents but bring visitors in from far and wide.
“This in turn will give our local businesses a much-needed boost. I am very excited to have worked with our officers on this project and cannot wait to see the new design take shape.”
Once a company has been chosen, work on the Place St Maur scheme is expected to start in autumn 2021 and be completed by spring 2022.