Message from the Mayor (2021 - 2022) Cllr. Steve Goodheart


 


 

Welcome to Bognor Regis Town Council’s 2022 newsletter! We hope you find what is to come an informative and enjoyable read.

For those of you who don’t know, Bognor Regis Town Council declared themselves a Council of Climate Emergency in 2019 and as such, we have decided to condense the printed version of this year’s newsletter. Instead of pages of articles, y a short introduction was given on each topic contained within the newsletter, with the option of the reader scanning the QR code, taking them to this page and allowing them to read the full story online. We must all do what we can to help reduce our carbon footprint and saving on paper is a good way to start.

Let me first say what a privilege it has been to serve as your Mayor over the past twelve months. Whilst Covid put a halt to many events early on in my tenure, I’ve thoroughly enjoyed getting out and about in Bognor Regis, meeting some inspirational people and being part of some fantastic events that we are lucky enough to have on our doorstep!

From a very enjoyable visit to our twin town of Saint-Maur-des-Fossés, to taking part in beach cleans, planting trees in honour of the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee, to opening summer fetes, giving talks at local community groups and attending many charitable fundraising events, it’s been an exciting mix of mayoral duties, which I think truly reflects the diverse nature of our Town.

 

It has been so pleasing to witness the openings of new and expanding businesses throughout the Town and I’ve been honoured to be invited to many of these, including Dream Fitness Gym in Durban Way, Cabana Verde in York Road, TAO restaurant and The Dog and Duck in the High Street and most recently of course, Bonito Lounge in London Road.

Along with the many regeneration projects currently taking place from the Place St Maur to The Regis Centre and the Sunken Gardens, I think we can all see the  benefits these investments in Bognor Regis will bring for years to come.

My Mayoral charities whilst in office have been the Rox Music & Arts Charity and ‘HFT’, who support people with learning disabilities, to enable them to live the best life possible. If you would like to find out more about the work of these charities, please do visit their respective websites, and donate whatever you can.

Thank you for having me as your Mayor and on behalf of everyone at Bognor Regis Town Council, we hope you enjoy the rest of the newsletter.

 

 

 


 

Message from the new Mayor (2022 - 2023) Cllr. John Barrett

 


 

I’m very much looking forward to the year ahead, serving as Mayor to this wonderful seaside Town of ours.

Although not Bognor Regis ‘born and bred’, I have spent many years here, including beginning my working life, as an apprentice at the old LEC site. Despite spending periods living in France and various other parts of the UK, I’ve always felt a certain draw to Bognor Regis, and am thrilled that this affiliation toward the Town, has led to me becoming your very proud Mayor.

I hope this year will be an extremely insightful and enjoyable one and I’m sure I will learn more about the sterling work of the many charitable organisations, businesses and volunteer sectors, all of which serve to make Bognor Regis the community orientated and diverse place it is.

2022 promises to be an exciting year, with enhancements being made to our tourist spots and of course, the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee celebrations, coming up very shortly. What an honour it is to be a Platinum Jubilee Mayor!

Accompanied by my Mayoress, Ms. Carole Brett, I look forward to meeting as many of you, our residents, as possible over the course of the next twelve months.

The Queen's Platinum Jubilee

 

 


 

This year marks the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee, celebrating Her Majesty’s remarkable achievement of 70 years as Monarch. Bognor Regis Town Council are delighted to be taking part in the official Beacon Lighting on Thursday 2 June, which will see over 1,500 beacons lit throughout the United Kingdom and Commonwealth, to commemorate the Queen’s service.

At 2pm, Bognor Regis Town Crier, Mrs. Jane Smith, will be reading the official proclamation she proudly wrote, along with hundreds of Crier’s across the land, announcing the lighting of the beacons taking place later that evening. Bognor Regis Town Council are extremely proud of Jane’s achievements, and the accolade of having her proclamation chosen to be read far and wide has certainly cemented her place as the ‘jewel in the crown’ of Bognor Regis.

The seafront Beacon will be lit as part of the Platinum Jubilee Celebrations on 2 June and Bognor Regis Town Council will be delivering the programme for the evening as follows:

21:30 Town Crier Proclamation

21:35 'Diu Regnare' will be played by a lone Piper, Mike Simmons

21:40 'Majesty' will be played by a lone Bugler, Tony Aide

21:45 Beacon lit by Town Mayor accompanied by Bersted Arts Choir performing 'A Song for the Commonwealth'

21:50 Fireworks from the end of the Pier

Local Elections 2023

On Thursday 4 May 2023 the Local Town Council Elections will be held and in Bognor Regis 16 Members will be elected to the Town Council. One of them could be you!

You do not need to be affiliated to a political party or group and in fact many Town Councillors stand as independent representatives and are totally unpolitical. Either way a Town Councillor is elected to serve and represent the residents who vote for them and strive to improve the community, its facilities and services. You don’t need to be a political expert, just a local resident who really cares and who wants to have a direct influence on policy and decision making for the benefit of our Town.

Bognor Regis Town Council is responsible for: Allotments; organising and promoting Town events; Town Force; sponsored planting; some benches; input on planning applications; seafront beacon; improvement of signage and restoration of neglected architectural features; dealing with graffiti; seafront showers; In Bloom; Picturedrome cinema building and supporting local organisations and events via a grants programme.

They are also the liaison between the District and County Council, to ensure the voices of local people are heard.

 

 

We have full Council Meetings approximately once every other month and there are also four Committees: – Community Engagement and Environment; Events, Promotion and Leisure; Planning and Licensing; Policy and Resources that each have scheduled meetings regularly throughout the year.  Council and Committee Meetings usually begin at 6.30pm and are not intended to last for more than two hours.

For the Council to work most effectively, committed and enthusiastic team players are needed from diverse backgrounds and ages, with a broad range of skills and experience, so that all parts of our community are fully represented.

If you are interested in your Town, why not consider representing your community. Come and talk to us to find out more - we can give you the advice, information and the support you need to take your first steps towards helping to make your local area better. Contact Bognor Regis Town Council on 012473 867744 or email: bognortc@bognorregis.gov.uk for more information.

Am I Eligible?

At the current time to be able to stand as a candidate at a town/parish council election in England you must be: -

 

  • At least 18 years old
  • A UK or Commonwealth citizen; or be a citizen of the Republic of Ireland; or be a citizen of another Member State of the European Union
  • An elector of the local council; or in the past 12 months occupied land or other premises in the area the local council serves (as owner or tenant); or work in the area the local council serves (as your principal or only place of work); or live within three miles of the local council boundary

 

 


 

Our Budget 2022/2023

At the Annual Town Meeting of Electors, held in March 2022, the Chairman of the Policy and Resources Committee, Cllr. Bob Waterhouse, gave the following statement:

I am delighted to present this year’s Budget Report to the Annual Electors.

Our current total Precept for the 2022/2023 year was set at £969,817, a 2.26% increase in the Precept, equivalent to a 2.7% increase for a Band D property, or a £3.47 per annum increase, given the reduction in the Tax Base.

The Town Council has also prudently managed to increase our Reserves which provide for “rainy day” events and provide for Economic Development to allow for investments to increase our income when, and if, opportunities arise, which are much needed as Central Government funding continues to decline. The Reserves also exist to provide for capital expenditure, as required, when plant and equipment requires replacement.

One of the most noticeable activities your taxes fund is the Town Force team who maintain the beautiful floral displays across the Town, clear graffiti and keep our Town tidy and attractive, both for us and for visitors to our Town. Town Force also provide income to fund their activities by providing services to nearby parishes and private customers. Without their tireless work the Town would soon become a much less desirable place to live and visit.

We continue to be proud of our partnerships with outside bodies through which we contribute to CCTV, the seafront lights, the 2-hour free parking initiative, and the Business Wardens, all of which are of great benefit to our Town.

The Picturedrome, Bognor Regis's historic cinema, which is owned by the Town Council continues its impressive development under its independent operator's management team. Following on from the completion of the fourth screen and its Café, decorative works and adaptions to improve access from its original entrance are nearing completion and the Cinema remains an outstanding asset to the Town's cultural scene.

An important activity your taxes fund is Grant Aid - this is the mechanism through which Bognor Regis Town Council distributes funding to local organisations to help them carry out their activities to the benefit of residents and local businesses. To illustrate the nature of this support, distribution of funds to applicants as diverse as Citizens Advice, Girlguiding, Making Theatre Gaining Skills, My Sister’s House, St Wilfrid’s Hospice, Bognor Shopmobility, and many others will be made this year as well as event support for the 2022 Jubilee Street Party on the Prom, and the Southdowns Folk Festival. The Town Council has budgeted £46,000 for this financial year’s annual Grant Aid awards with applications invited from July.

In addition to providing financial assistance to outside bodies to hold their events, the Town Council fund our own events to enable local people to attend them free of charge. These include Funshine Days, Proms in the Park, Drive Through Time, and celebrations for the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee this June, for which the Town Council have also signed up to the Queen’s Green Canopy and will be spending £5,000 on commemorative tree planting. We are also honoured to be organising the National Town Crier’s Guild Championship, which will be hosted here in Bognor Regis this summer.

In addition to organising free events, Bognor Regis Town Council also allocate funds to promoting the town as a whole to visitors, to help boost the economy and therefore helping our businesses. One such way in which this is achieved is through the Town Council’s annual investment is adorning the Town with Christmas Illuminations. These displays are always so well received, with praise given about the quality of the decorations. The Town Council will, once again, be funding the Christmas Illuminations this festive season with displays that it is hoped will be even more spectacular than ever this year. 

Climate Change

Climate change has never been more at the forefront of conversation, than it has been over the past twelve months. With COP 26 allowing an international platform for discussions on what urgent actions need to be taken globally, and nationwide initiatives to support tree planting such as The ‘Queen’s Green Canopy’, and the Great British Spring Clean, organised by Keep Britain Tidy, there really are plenty of opportunities for us all to get involved with helping to ‘turn the tide’ on climate change, including right here in Bognor Regis.

The Town Council declared themselves a Council of ‘Climate Emergency’ in 2019, leading to the formation of the Climate Emergency Focus Group, who work on a variety of projects including rewilding, encouraging sustainable lifestyles, and implementing more ‘bee-friendly’ planting. The group consists of Town and District Councillors, interested stakeholders, and members of the community, and reports to the Town Council’s Community, Engagement and Environment Committee. Local website bognor. today is a great way to stay up to date with the Focus Group’s initiatives and to gain access to the latest climate news and projects, affecting the Bognor Regis area.

Being a coastal town, a lot of focus, rightly so, is on the impact of climate change on the biodiversity of the sea and marine habitat. Projects such as the ‘Sussex Kelp Restoration Project’ and the Bognor Fishermen’s Association, who are looking to bring back sustainable fishing to Bognor Regis, are just some of the efforts going on right now, at such a pivotal moment in the recovery of our seas after years of litter, pollution, and a decline in sea habitats.

 

Although the issue of climate change seems overwhelming when we look at tackling the issue as a whole, there is plenty we can do as individuals, specifically in our gardens, which will make a big difference. The RHS website contains plenty of tips and advice for make better and ‘greener’ use of our gardens:

·        Greening up your garden – Plants more trees, bushes and shrubs, all of which help remove carbo dioxide (a big contributor to climate change). from the atmosphere

·        Plant a diverse range of plants in your garden – Planting a variety of plants will help with resilience, ensuring at least some plants will survive in diverse weather. Effort should be made to planting of differing pollinator friendly plants

·        Adopt new ways of growing – Share any petrol-powered tools needed and reduce use of these where possible. Green roofs and walls can cool your home in the summer and insulate it in the winter, saving on energy bills too!

·        Be water-wise – Use water butts where possible, which not only help with reducing the pressure on drains during flooding, but they also help conserve water during droughts. Avoid using hoses in the summer months

·        Avoid peat-based products - Peatlands store huge amounts of carbon, making them a real disaster for trying to combat climate change. Harvesting the peat to use for composts also destroys the biodiversity of the land it’s harvested on. Plenty of good quality peat-free compost is available, at all good nurseries.

·        Compost your garden and kitchen waste – homemade compost improves the structure of your compost as well as providing healthier soil. Healthy soil also captures carbon and the less materials thrown away, the less that will end up in landfill, emitting huge amounts of green house gases!

·       Reduce- reuse-recycle-reinvest

·        Go organic – Avoid use of chemicals in the garden. If necessary, choose products with a lower carbon footprint, such as organic ones 

·        Beware invaders – Never bring plants home from trips abroad, and only shop for plants at reputably suppliers, to avoid brining new pests and diseases into our local gardeners.

 

 

Bognor Regis in Bloom, a Working Group of the Town Council, works to actively encourage positive gardening habits. For this year’s Annual Gardening Competition, the Group will be taking into account some of the RHS ‘top tips’ for sustainable and environmentally friendly gardening, in their judging criteria.

Recently holding a ‘Climate Change and Biodiversity’ information Open Day, the Working Group provided visitors with plenty of useful tips and handouts on ‘going green’ in the garden. Sussex Wildlife Trust, Brick Kiln Garden Centre and Bognor Regis’ Tree Warden were just some of the experts at the Open Day, answering questions and making presentations.

The Working Group also partakes in the ‘Great British Spring Clean’, organised by Keep Britain Tidy, this year working in conjunction with Sussex Wildlife Trust, to record the items collected from their beach clean.

Bognor Regis is very proud to have two Tree Wardens, who work hard to not only plant and maintain trees in the Town, but who also want to help educate ‘Bognorians’ on the benefits of trees in the battle against Climate change and air pollution.

If you are from a local school and would like to book a FREE talk from one of our Tree Wardens, or help with planting trees on your school grounds or  you would like more information on Bognor Regis in Bloom and how to join, then please contact the In Bloom & Allotment Committee Clerk, Steve Davis: stevedavis@bognorregis.gov.uk


 

 

 


 

 

 

300th Anniversary of the birth of Sir Richard Hotham

 


 

Richard Hotham was born in the city of York on 5th October 1722 and was the youngest of five children to Joseph and Sarah Hotham. His birth date was shown on a plate affixed to his coffin and noted when it was moved in 1879. There are no specific records of his formative years, however he eventually moved to London and it is thought that he became apprenticed as a hatter.

Richard Hotham married Miss Frances Atkinson on 1st December 1743. She was aged 25 years and it is thought she might have been the daughter of his employer at the time. Their wedding took place at the chapel within Chelsea Hospital. They were later to have one son called John in 1751 sadly; however, he died after only one day.

 

 

In 1746 Richard Hotham set up in business selling hats, the trade for which he is mostly remembered as ‘Hotham the Hatter.’ hence the name of the public house The Hatters in the Queensway and the sun bonnet sculpture on the corner of the Bon Marche shop (now Bonito Lounge) in London Road.

By the 1750s he moved to improved premises on the corner of the old Hungerford Market in the Strand, the site of today’s Charring Cross Station. It was during this period that Richard Hotham issued copper tokens to advertise his hat selling business, and they bore the Searle Street address.

For a number of years it was believed that Richard Hotham only had one wife, Francis, however recently it has been discovered that this is not correct. Apparently Mrs. Francis Hotham died in 1760 and was buried on 14th August of that year. Within eight months on 7th April 1761, he was to re-marry this time to Barbara Huddart of the parish to St. Margaret in Westminster. Barbara became Lady Hotham following Richard receiving his Knighthood in 1769 when he was only aged 46. The knowledge of his second wife was to change much of the known history of Sir Richard Hotham and only goes to show, that research should continue, even after all the facts seem to be known!

During the 1760’s Richard Hotham joined the East India Company and became known as a ‘ship’s husband’ with four ships under his control. Also around this time he was involved in building property at Merton Place, which was later, the home of Admiral Nelson. He then built Merton Grove, which today would have been near the site of the South Wimbledon Tube Station.

For many years during the 1770’s and 1780’s he was involved in the life of his neighbourhood in Wimbledon, being on Vestry Committee’s at his local church in addition to being appointed Sherriff of Surrey and a Magistrate. Sadly his personal life was not so successful and Lady Hotham died on 1st February 1777 aged only 44. It would appear that Sir Richard Hotham also attempted to enter Parliament and was duly elected the MP for Southwark on 15th September 1780. He remained their member of parliament for four years.

Following these events his health began to suffer and he decided to spend the summer months at the seaside. At the age of 62 he arrived in our area staying at a farmhouse with Captain Blanchard, who was the Captain of one of his ships. There are some avenues of thought that he may have considered the Hayling Island area before arriving here in Bognor.  He returned to Bognor for a second year and then purchased his first piece of land, which contained a farmhouse, for the price of £200 from a George Moore who was a riding officer in the Customs.

Once Sir Richard Hotham had decided to stay he started work on building property as he found that the Bognor earth was very suitable for brick making, a fact that had not been appreciated locally.  With local labour and materials he rebuilt the farmhouse into a ‘commodious mansion.’ This event was recorded in the Parish register by the Rev. Thomas Durnford, M.A. who was the Vicar of South Bersted, Curate of Felpham and Rector of Middleton. This event occurred on the 18th January 1787 and the entry in the parish records read, “The first foundation stone of a public bathing place at Bognor in the Parish of Berstead was laid by Sir Richard Hotham Knt. At the house called by the name of the Lodge.” Hence Bognor Regis celebrates its birthday annually on 18th January. The fine mansion had its own private chapel. The clock tower is the only remaining part of Sir Richard’s chapel.

There are numerous mentions of Sir Richard and his activities in the town one of which states that in 1788 he spent £6,225 purchasing land, eventually he was to own 1,600 acres. At this time he also built Hothampton Place, which consisted of 7 houses in addition to East Row with six houses and both of these constructions overlooked the area today known as Waterloo Square. His work initially began by developing his seaside resort bordered on the one side by the Rife, which was situated between the resort and the village of Felpham. Although he did ultimately buy property in the village itself.  In 1789 Sir Richard Hotham became known as Lord of the Manor of Aldwick, when he purchased the second half of the manor from Canon Miller for a reputed 4,000 gns. His building continued when he purchased the dilapidated Fox Inn and built a hotel on the seafront. This was situated at the end of West Street and had stabling for 80 horses and 15 carriages. During all this work Sir Richard Hotham had not forgotten his roots and in 1791 he erected a memorial to his parents in Skelton church, north of York.

Visitors were beginning to arrive, and in 1791, which was classed as their first main season the rates for accommodation ranged from 5gns to 10 gns. per week. This was the year, which saw the inauguration of the watering place, known as Hothamton.  During the 1790’s there was a lot of development taking place throughout the district with Hothamton Cres. being built with 50 rooms and a tea room situated underneath its Dome. Spencer Terrace was a row of 7 houses. He also built his new home known as Chapel House, which was next to the original Bognor Lodge. On the 12th August 1793 the Duke of St. Albans was in the town to lay the foundation stone of the Chapel, being built to allow visitors to have their own exclusive area for prayer. In 1794 John Thwaites of London installed the distinctive clock, and this fact is clearly noted on the clock, which is still operating today in the tower attached to the house.  Sadly by 1795 things were not proceeding well and lodging receipts for the year only amounted to £1,919, 5s. 6d. At this time the town was apparently receiving refugees from the French Revolution. It is reported that over £100,000 had been spent on the resort, although it was still losing money. Royalty were beginning to arrive in the district such as when Lady Jersey took The Dome for the months of August and September, in order to avoid going to Brighton.

In 1796 he sat for a portrait and this picture clearly shows Sir Richard Hotham sat, with his plans for Bognor below his arm. This picture can still be seen today in the Town Hall.

Sir Richard Hotham continued to expand his ideal seaside resort, and continued to wish for royalty patronage. Building work continued, with new constructions rising out of the fields, overlooking the sea. Sadly however the dream came to an end when on the 13th March 1799 he died at his home in the resort, which was his dream.

Regeneration

Regeneration is alive and well in Bognor Regis, with many exciting plans now coming to fruition. Place St Maur, which has long been a topic of discussion, will become an innovative and useable plaza area with modern architecture, water features including shallow pools for water play, an area to host events, coastal planting and new seating. Place St Maur will surely become a focal point for activities and events, but will also forge a much-needed link between the Town Centre and seafront.

Another exciting project already in the first phase of improvements is the ‘levelling up’ project at The Regis Centre. The upgrades planned will allow for the Alexandra Theatre to put on larger shows, provide more comfortable facilities, and therefore increase the number of people using both the Centre, which is fantastic for community groups, and the Theatre, all of which means good news for our Town.

Works are also imminent on the Sunken Gardens, following public consultation by Arun District Council, to enhance the quality of the landscape and encourage more visitors to the gardens. Along with significant refurbishment to the play area, ramps are planned to be installed at the new southern entrance to the gardens, to improve accessibility for all, with repairs agreed for the current railings, new benches to be installed, poor-quality trees to be replaced and new low-growing ornamental planting to create a centre piece in the middle of the gardens, just a few elements in the works for the ‘new look’ Sunken Gardens.

 


 

It has been so pleasing to see our Town Centre benefit from some eye-catching installations over the last couple of months. From the BID’s colourful banners in London Road and High Street, to the festoon lighting installed at York Road, these projects to improve the visual impact of our Town Centre were made possible by some phenomenal partnership working between the Bognor Regis BID, Bognor Regis businesses, Bognor Regis Town Council and Arun District Council.  You might have also noticed the bright vinyl’s at each end of The Arcade, provided by Arun District Council, which have created a welcoming entrance to the Town Centre from the seafront.

What a fantastic boost to the already exciting plans for regeneration on the seafront, to hear that Public Realm funding has been awarded to Bognor Regis! West Sussex County Council recently announced the allocation of £431,00 to be spent on improvements at The Esplanade to link with other investments being made to the Town. Upgrading the seafront infrastructure will provide improved public realm and crossing points across the Highway between the beach and the Town, creating an accessible and connected community space.

The project will look to create “attractive, sustainable, and accessible public spaces, enhancing key areas linking the Town Centre to the seafront, and improve public realm landscape for residents and visitors to enjoy, with new planting, and sustainable urban drainage systems”.

As well as improving the aesthetics, it is hoped that improvements will support in reducing carbon levels, making Bognor Regis a healthier and ultimately happy place to live!

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