Next Visions of the Bognor Future
I have just emailed the local council to share some ideas about the conceptual picture they are painting of Bognor’s future…
Unfortunately, I have always felt that the town is one of little opportunity with ever-decreasing life and culture… Unfortunately, my first instinct is to leave for somewhere more exciting. A little dream of a bohemian adventure like my own little Moulin Rouge story.
Unfortunately, the locals think that the right answer to me putting across suggestive ideas is “fuck off somewhere else then, if you don’t like it”. Which all adds up to me asking why I am even interested in the development of Bognor?!
I guess it’s because part of me knows that all locations are flawed when reality kicks in, and actually duty to your community (regardless of there being many ignorant people within it) is a noble cause — and you don’t do your little bit to improve the world if you run away from everything thats ugly.
Over the past couple of years, I have read the development plans for the town and am finding myself wishing to become more involved and do what I can to help to grow it as a community that better caters for creatives, younger generations, sustainability and business growth.
Conceptually thinking, some of the ideas that have been put forward for the town seem fantastic. The idea of Gardens by the Sea is one that could potentially put Bognor on the map as a ‘mini British Seoul’, or we could actually achieve the sustainable issues the likes of London are trying to accomplish (on a small scale) and encourage the more urbanised areas to commit to aesthetic and ecologically-supporting developments.
One of the biggest problems that residents complain about in the town is the fact that architecture of character that they always loved and associated the town with has now been destroyed.
We need to stop focusing on the complaints of older generations who have seen a town destroyed, and instead focus on future generations who are seeing a town with potential to be developed and giving them back what the older generations previously loved.
Learning from their mistakes, Arun need to make it their utmost mission to ensure they are building aesthetic architecture that will be appreciated in the future. Architecture is important, they cannot ignore this from their development plans.
Then, the biggest problem Bognor faces which needs addressing as a matter of urgency if they intend to keep young and inspired people in the town, is the lack of entertainment and tolerance from residents for a cultured community.
The suggestion to move the listed Bandstand structure from the seafront had some legs if it was backed up by a reason for moving it.
I believe that this reason should be to move it to an area which is more entertainment-friendly and where there is a lax noise regulation. If the bandstand is moved then it has to be used, it has to have good seating capabilities around it and it needs to be supported by an area with ‘life’ (i.e. bars, restaurants and other entertainment venues).
The Waterloo Gardens are would be a fantastic area if the derelict buildings there were permitted (and encouraged/supported) to be bars and restaurants.
Regarding The Arcade
The ideas above are grand and are responsibilities of the council to action. The Arcade on the other hand gives some potential for smaller improvements that individuals can aid first-hand, that could have a big impact on the overall growth of the town.
As previously stressed, with a new university campus and a digital creative hub on the horizon, a lack of entertainment in the town is a serious concern which will have a huge impact on the development of a new culture. To say this plainly, we need more bars and restaurants.
The Arcade would be a great location to make something like a Time Out Market-vibe indoor bar and restuarant area.
I have mind to propose researching whether it would truly be viable to commence the development of a business opportunity here.
Have you ever considered taking somebody for a date in Bognor? With the exception of the tapas restaurant, Sen, or a couple of curry houses, there is nowhere with a suitable environment to date in the town — so everybody goes out of town, namely to Chichester. This is a shame, as a a beach town could very easily be romantic.
I think a bottle bar is desperately needed, and I think The Arcade would be a prime location. This should absolutely be independent, something that makes Brighton so successful as a good environment for small business growth and should cater to students and the older generation alike — by giving it a mature but trendy and friendly vibe.
I have some initial questions I have attempted to put in front of the council before I commence researching what the demand for this business will be in the area:
- What are the possible license (alcohol/music) limitations that could be in place in the arcade?
- Is there already ideas of a prospective closing time for the arcade whereby it would be inaccessible to the public at nighttime and would this be reconsidered if there is good grounds to put bars and restaurants in there with nighttime licenses?
- As this is not directly a residential area, would live music be considered in the venues?
I am aware that The Conservative Party are actively trying to make a concerned effort to relate to the younger generations in the country. Developing Bognor in the ways outlined above gives the Party a chance to excel at this here.