A sum of £19.4million has been awarded to Arun District Council to embark on extensive improvement projects in both Bognor and Littlehampton.
These will focus on The Alexandra Theatre in Bognor Regis and the seafront and riverside area in Littlehampton.
Shaun Gunner, leader of the council said: This is fantastic news for Bognor Regis, Littlehampton and all of Arun. When I became leader, I said I would focus on regeneration and economic investment, and that I would deliver for the district.
“This welcome announcement today is the Government investing in our future, to support the residents and businesses of this district to leave healthier and wealthier lives.
“Make no mistake, this will have a transformational impact on our district. This is levelling up in action. This isn’t just about improving the area we live in, this is about improving the lives and livelihoods of the people of this district. I could not be prouder that the Government are giving us £19.4 million for the benefit of our towns.
“The Government recognised the case I presented for the investment, and sees what a huge benefit this will deliver in Bognor Regis and Littlehampton. I would like to thank our three Members of Parliament - Sir Peter Bottomley, Nick Gibb and Andrew Griffith - for their support of this bid, and to the Government for their vote of confidence in Arun.”
Andy Cooper, chair of the economy committee, added: “A lot of work went into researching and preparing the bid document for this Levelling Up Fund and I am delighted to see that work bear fruit. The improvements that will be made to Bognor Regis and Littlehampton will benefit residents across the district with increased visitor numbers and investment in business.”
Lib Dem and former leader of the council James Walsh added: “This bid would not have happened had it not been for the insistence of the then Liberal Democrat led administration led by myself. We were told by several Conservative members that we should take longer to assemble the bid, and submit in the second round later this year.
“Together with the chief executive we pushed for the inclusion of three ‘oven-ready’ schemes in the first round of bidding, and secured the support of local MPs.
“I am over the moon that the bid has been successful, and that the Alexandra Theatre and Regis Centre will get a major regeneration scheme, and that Littlehampton seafront will be made even more welcoming to visitors and residents.
“This will all be a boost to overall regeneration of our two major towns. It means in the case of Bognor Regis that after 30 years of inertia and false starts, that with the recently started Place St Maur major scheme, this Regis Centre scheme will be a major step in seafront revitalisation.”
“A major thank you is due to all who supported the bid both locally and from Government. The schemes have important delivery timetables, and we must now all pull together to make sure it happens by 2023.”
Back in June, ADC said the Littlehampton project includes:
• A lighting scheme around the Oyster Pond
• New toilet facilities, including a Changing Place toilet
• External showers
• New concessions on Banjo Road
• Four play areas including water jets
• A redesign of West Green car park
• Improved public realm and extensive landscaping.
Nick Gibb, Littlehampton’s MP, said: “It is very good news that the Chancellor announced this important funding for our area in the budget.
“The Government has made clear that the Levelling Up agenda is about tackling inequality across the entirety of the United Kingdom.
“This investment will benefit not only the residents of Bognor Regis and Littlehampton, but the surrounding local economy which depends on our tourism sector which is boosted by this excellent news.”
Andrew Griffith MP for Arundel and South Downs, added: “All residents of Arun District will benefit from regeneration money flowing into the local area. These tens of millions will improve the towns of Littlehampton and Bognor Regis where I know many of my constituents work, shop or spend their leisure time.”
Sir Peter Bottomley, Worthing West MP, added: “I am glad to hear that Arun District Council has succeeded in their bid to the Levelling Up Fund. This funding will secure a once-in-a-generation opportunity to fully reinvigorate our coastal landscape for the benefit of local people and tourists.
“The funding will be welcome in communities across Arun, not only in Littlehampton and Bognor Regis but in Rustington and Ferring and so on. It is fundamental to Arun district’s Levelling Up project which will bring tourism and jobs alike to our area, bolstering our local economy.”