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




As Mayor of Bognor Regis, I get the privilege of welcoming you to the 2023 edition of Bognor Regis Town Council’s annual newsletter! On behalf of my fellow Town Councillors, we hope this newsletter will give you a greater glimpse of the work of Bognor Regis Town Council, over the past year, and a look ahead at our plans and ambitions for this wonderful Town, for the rest of 2023 too. In line with our values and responsibilities as a Council of Climate Emergency, this year we are once again publishing a ‘shortened’ hardcopy version of the newsletter, with the option of scanning the QR code, to allow you to read the extended articles online.

What an honour and thoroughly enjoyable experience it has been, serving as your Mayor, over the past year, and one that I will certainly never forget. I strongly believe that it’s the people that make the Town, and here in Bognor Regis, we are lucky enough to have an abundance of wonderful individuals, striving to improve what the Town has to offer and most importantly, the day-to-day needs of our residents.

The charities myself and my Mayoress, Carole, have been supporting this year are Bognor Regis Foodbank and 4Sight Vision Support. During this time, I have been very humbled to meet and work closely with the volunteers and managers, who put tremendous effort - and hours, into making sure they are helping those in need, in our locality.

Kirstie Thomas and her team at 4Sight Vision Support kindly invited myself and the Mayoress to take part in wellbeing walks over our tenure, in which we met with many supporters of the charity, and hopefully helped to raise some funds for them too. A charity close to my heart, due to my own eye health problems, it’s been truly wonderful to get to know so many of the 4Sight team, their sponsors and importantly those who benefit from the outstanding work they do for those with vision impairment in Bognor Regis, making every day that little bit easier for them.


Unfortunately, over recent months, the cost-of-living crisis has hit hard for many families up and down the country, and of course, in our Town too. It has therefore never been more important to have the likes of Bognor Regis Foodbank there to support those most vulnerable, to feed themselves and their families. The need for Foodbanks has increased dramatically over this time, and I’ve been humbled to be able to get to know Clare and Paul, the managers of Bognor Regis Foodbank, and to see for myself, the difference they are making to members of our community. I was particularly pleased to be able to help at their Food Collections, at Tesco in Shripney Road, firstly in July and more recently over the Christmas period.

Both charities are so deserving, and it’s been a privilege to be able to raise money from them throughout the year, at the Town Council’s Civic Service, a ‘Coffee and Cake’ fundraiser that the Mayoress and I hosted over the summer, and through our involvement with wellbeing walks. I hope to increase the funds further with a raffle at the Town Council’s annual Civic Reception to be held at the end of March. If anyone reading this would like to find out more about either charity, volunteer some time to help with their missions, or to donate any money at all, please visit their respective websites: and Thank you.

I’d like to also make special mention of my Mayor’s Chaplain this year, Major Matt Butler, who along with his wife Major Sarah Butler, have been of great support and I thank them and all at the Bognor Regis Salvation Army for their continued vital work within our Town.

There have been so many highlights since I first took up office in May, a few that stand out are Bognor Regis’ first ever Town Crier Competition, which certainly brought a wash of colour to the Prom back in June, the Armed Forces Day commemorations, the return of the Ice Rink, to its new location in London Road car park and of course the many premises openings, concerts and presentation evenings I’ve been grateful to attend.






Other enjoyable events have included The Regis School of Music concerts, Edwin James Festival Orchestra and Choir (raising funds for my charity), the Alexandra Theatre and their dazzling productions, providing an ideal venue for hire - a huge asset to the Town. The Bognor Regis in Bloom Awards showed us how our residents are brightening their neighbourhoods and our Town as a whole. We’re fortunate to have plenty of clubs offering a diverse range of membership, such as Bognor Regis Camera Club and Woodwork Craft Club, who I’ve enjoyed visiting. It’s been wonderful to support our amazing care and dementia homes (including Elizabeth House, who recently celebrated their 15 year anniversary). From local celebrations to our wonderful twinning partners raising funds at their summer coffee morning, our schools’ presentation events (St. Mary’s Catholic School’s squirrel investiture and South Bersted C.E. Primary School collective worship and bean growing), we really do have something for here in ‘sunniest’ Bognor Regis. Annual events we have enjoyed attending in our formal capacity this year have included the Bognor Regis Carnival, the International Kite Festival, the Southdowns Music Festival and of course, the Town Council organised Funshine Days, Motor Gala and Christmas Lights Switch-On. Thank you to everyone who has made us feel so welcome at their events and celebrations this year!

2022 has been bittersweet, with the Platinum Jubilee celebrations in June and the sad passing of Her Late Majesty Queen Elizabeth II coming just a few months later. It has been such an honour serving as a ‘Platinum Jubilee Mayor’ this year and it was so pleasing to see our townsfolk come together in celebration for the many events to mark this amazing achievement, with the beacon lighting for the Platinum Jubilee and of course our Town Crier reading with pride the Proclamation she had written especially for it. Bognor Regis came together again, but this time in grief, with the announcement of Her Late Majesty’s death, and it was a particularly humbling to see so many residents join myself and my fellow Councillors outside the Town Hall’s War Memorial, to mark the Proclamation of the Accession and again the silence on the eve of the funeral. Bognor Regis certainly did itself proud with the outpouring of affection that came with the news, and the days that followed, and it was pleasing to see the hundreds of people come to the Town Hall to sign the book of condolence, which I also had the pleasure of taking to local Care and Nursing Homes, including the War Memorial Hospital, to allow residents and patients to send their condolences to the now King Charles III and all members of the Royal Family.

With my year as Mayor drawing to a close, I feel proud to have served as First Citizen of this special Town. With the Place St Maur project finally completed and refurbishment works nearly complete at the Picturedrome Cinema there are also many projects due to get underway in the coming months including, the Sunken Garden improvement project and Regis Centre regeneration as part of the Levelling Up Fund to name but a few, there are certainly a lot of things to look forward to for 2023 and beyond!

On behalf of the Mayoress and myself, thank you for an unforgettable year and from everyone at Bognor Regis Town Council, we hope you enjoy the rest of the newsletter…




Bognor Regis continues to be a Town experiencing exciting changes and continued regeneration.

2022 saw the completion of the Place St Maur development, which was put to good use over the summer months, hosting the likes of the TASTE! event, organised by Bognor Regis BID and the water fountains certainly proved a hit with the younger generation, whilst providing an attractive link from the beach to the Town Centre and the ideal seating spot to enjoy the hustle and bustle of seaside life.

This year promises to be just as fruitful with The Regis Centre and Alexandra Theatre taking its turn to undergo a major redevelopment in the spring. With a supplementary capital budget of £3million to boost the Levelling Up Fund allocated for the refurbishment project for the theatre, approximately £15.2 million will be available to fund a high quality, modern arts venue for the people of Bognor Regis and visitors to the area.

The Levelling Up Fund is an initiative from the Government, which aims to reset and improve the relationship between central and local government by putting local councils ‘at the heart’ of delivering the Government’s programme to improve opportunities across the UK.

The funding will allow a complete refit of the Regis Centre and Alexandra Theatre, enhancing and improving the facilities, thus attracting larger and more far-reaching shows. With many local community groups also already using the Centre, for regular meets and hosting of free activities, the improvements will undoubtedly increase footfall and use of the building itself.


Photo Credit: Peter Flude Photography 


Along with the acquisition of The Regis pub/restaurant, as part of the wider project, which will result in the construction, by Whitbread, of a new 102-bedroom Premier Inn hotel on the south-eastern corner of the Regis Centre car park site, the redevelopment of the site as a whole will most certainly result in a large-scale improvement to this important location for residents and tourists alike.


Our Budget 2023/2024

 Dear Resident

It’s been a challenging year for everyone as we face the cost-of-living crisis.

Your Town Council has focused on presenting a budget that will minimise the impact on residents, whilst ensuring the future financial stability of our Town and maintaining all the important activities the Council funds for the residents of Bognor Regis.

As a Town Council we will make sizeable contributions to some extremely important partnerships such as the Bognor Regis Seafront Lights, our Town Centre Business Wardens, the 2-Hour Free Parking Scheme and CCTV, all of which are of great benefit to our Town.

We continue to support our young people, providing funding to local youth work initiatives as well as planning to once again offer a variety of free entertainment during the summer months both by running our own events and by providing funding to outside bodies to run their events.

Town Force will continue to work to improve the look and feel of Bognor Regis for both residents and visitors by removing graffiti and rubbish around the Town, as well as providing income by providing services to nearby parishes and private businesses. Without their tireless work the Town would soon become a much less desirable place to live and visit.

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.  As refurbishment nears completion it is rapidly becoming the star in Bognor Regis’s cultural life.

The ceremonial turning on of the Christmas lights, by the Mayor in the Town Centre attended by many residents, despite the rain, illustrates the power of working together with local businesses as well as the wider community, and the Town Council was proud to continue to play their part by supplying the Christmas Lights, which were warmly received and will be back again this year.




Royal Regis

2022 was a bitter-sweet year for the Royal Family, and for us as a Nation. June saw the inaugural celebrations, marking Her Late Majesty, Queen Elizabeth II’s, Platinum Jubilee and the colour, joy and jubilation that brought, was felt across the Commonwealth.

Here in Bognor Regis, celebrations included the reading of the Town Crier’s Proclamation, written by our Bognor Regis Town Crier, Jane Smith, which signified the lighting of the Beacons on the evening of 2nd June 2022. Bognor Regis Carnival Association held a ‘Jubilee Street Party’, the Town’s annual Carnival was themed around the 70th Anniversary celebrations and Bognor Regis’ ‘POP! Shop’ held an exhibition, hailing the Town’s Royal connections.

When the news of the Queen’s passing broke on 8th September 2022, our Nation, and much of the world, went into mourning, with thousands of residents signing the Book of Condolence, in Bognor Regis Town Hall. Members of the community came together for the Proclamation of the Accession of King Charles III and the ‘Moment of National Reflection’ on the eve of Her Late Majesty’s State Funeral, which was broadcast at the Picturedrome Cinema.

We remember fondly the years of service and dedication, afforded to us all by The Late Queen Elizabeth II, and of course, continue to celebrate our Town’s rich history of Royal ties.

2023 marks the 95th anniversary of King George V convalescing in Bognor Regis. In January 1929, following a bout of illness and subsequent lung operation, it was announced that "the time is approaching when His Majesty’s removal to sea air will be advantageous". 


Setting up residence in Craigwell House, Aldwick, the King stayed in this accommodation, afforded to him by Sir Arthur du Cross, Baronet, for thirteen weeks. During this time many members of the Royal Family visited King George V and Queen Mary, including on March 17th, the King’s two-year-old granddaughter, Princess Elizabeth (The Late Queen Elizabeth II).

The young Princess famously built sandcastles on the beaches of Bognor Regis, apparently buying the sandcastle moulds at local store ‘Burgess’s Bazaar’.

Following his spell of recuperation in the sunny climes of Bognor Regis, on 22nd May 1929, King George V was greeted by ‘thousands’ of well-wishers, lining the streets of Bognor Regis and waving their flags with pride. This was apparently in stark contrast to the just ‘hundreds’ who had turned out to greet the previously very unwell King.

It is through this remarkable period of the King’s recovery, that the ‘sea air and sunny climate’ of Bognor Regis, made its way into the limelight!

On 26th July 1929, the Town was recognised for it’s ‘healing’ qualities and King George V gratefully bestowed the Town with the Royal suffix, ‘Regis’.

As we looked forward to the Coronation of our new Monarch, King Charles III, on 6th May 2023, and the celebrations such an occasion will undoubtedly bring, we continue to remember and honour with pride, our Town’s rich history of Royal connections.



Picturedrome Cinema

Since its centenary celebrations in 2019, plans have been in the offering to ensure the Picturedrome Cinema remains a fantastic community asset and well-loved cinema for the next 100 years! Following delays due to Covid, extensive refurbishments have been taking place since August 2022, to restore the historic building to its full glory!

To date, floor space has been significantly increased in the foyer, featuring a reinstated terrazzo marble floor, bespoke stained-glass artwork and a new retail stand to allow for better flow of the building, along with other sympathetic improvements to enhance the experience for the customers!

Workers were pleased to uncover some original historic detailing in screen 3 of the first level, with a complete refurbishment and two new sets of toilets added thereafter. The upper level has been fully stepped to create the full ‘auditorium’ experience and ensure all seating has optimum screen viewing! With the removal of a false ceiling, the rear ceiling void now houses the projector screen and, in the screens, original location is now a full set of toilets, which has freed up additional space on the first-floor landing.

The upper level now boasts a large and airy landing space, enjoying natural light, with the reinstatement of the original windows in screens 3 and 4, lending itself nicely as a room to rent for community events and corporate hires.

With finishing touches being completed inside the Cinema, improvements are now focused on the front of the building, with the exterior soon to benefit from new doors and fresh paint work.

Bognor Regis Town Council and the Picturedrome Cinema are extremely excited for visitors to see and enjoy the completed works. It is hoped that such restoration will ensure the Cinema’s legacy as a unique and iconic building within the heart of Bognor Regis for years to come!


Youth Provision



Bognor Regis Town Council has been delighted to support the continuation of youth provision services available within the Town, over the course of 2022.

Through the Community Engagement and Environment Committee and the Youth Provision Steering Group, funding has been awarded to various youth groups in Bognor Regis, with the Mayor, Cllr. John Barrett, making cheque presentations on behalf of the Committee and the Town Council as a whole.

In October 2022, the Bognor Regis Youth and Community Centre received £2,500 as a contribution towards allowing the Centre to continue to benefit our Town’s young people.

At the end of the year, Cllr. Barrett met with Brian Ansell (Manager of 39 Youth Club) and Chris Cook (CEO of Sussex Clubs for Young People), at the premises in Glamis Street, who were delighted to receive a contribution of £2,500 as match funding.

It is hoped that these donations, will go towards the continuation of youth provision and services within the Town, which Members of Bognor Regis Town Council, are keen to actively support.

In 2023, the Community Engagement and Environment Committee hope to further enhance their understanding of the types of services young people would most like to see on offer with their Town. Whilst liaising with knowledgeable representatives from the youth groups has been beneficial thus far, the Town Council, and the Committee in particular, are well aware that the best people for advising on the requirements of young people, are the young people themselves.

Discussions have already therefore begun between the Town Council, The Regis School and Felpham Community College pupils, who are coming up with new and innovative ideas for what ‘youth provision’ in Bognor Regis can look like in the near future. We look forward to seeing what can be achieved with a little teamwork in 2023 - watch this space!


Seaside Classics

‘That’s the way to do it!’ is probably the most recognisable catchphrase from the seaside classic puppet show ‘Punch and Judy’, which has been popular with audiences for over 350 years. Although well-known and loved here in Britain, its origins in fact come from Italy where Mr Punch was known as ‘Punchinello’ and the original format was that of a play!

English Naval Administrator and Member of Parliament, Samuel Pepys, most famously known these days for his diary account of major historical events such as The Great Plague of 1665 and The Great Fire of London in 1666, included within his diary the first account in this country, of what we now know as a ‘Punch and Judy’ show.

The popularity of this format has evolved over time but manged to stay true to its roots and is still performed all around the country - particularly at seaside resort destinations, including right here in ‘Sunniest Bognor Regis’, where it often features as part of the Town Council’s ‘Funshine Days’ programme.

But what makes Bognor Regis’ connection with ‘Punch and Judy’ so special? It was of course, the filming of ‘The Punch and Judy Man’, which took place right here 60 years ago, featuring legendry actor and comedian, Tony Hancock, in the lead role as the proprietor of a run-down Punch and Judy show set in the fictional town of Pilton (Bognor Regis). The film centres around Hancock’s character trying to establish himself within society, alongside his wife, played by Sylvia Simms.

Thousands of Bognor Regis residents registered their interest in playing ‘extras’ in the film, and many were cast by director Gordon Scott.

Filmed at various locations in Bognor Regis, including The Pier, Town Hall, the Esplanade and Royal Hotel to name a few, 1960’s Bognor Regis was seen by audiences across the globe, and is forever immortalised on film!


Fishermen's Association



After centuries of fishing tradition, thanks to the hard work and ‘never give up’ attitude of the Bognor Fishermen’s Association, sustainable fishing is making a comeback in Bognor Regis. Following over two decades of dwindling fish numbers due to a combination of overfishing by large trawlers and the numbers of fish plummeting because of the eradication of their habitat and food source – kelp, Clive Mills and fellow fishermen, have worked extremely hard to drag the fishing community here back from the brink.

With campaigns such as the ‘Sussex Kelp Restoration Project’ and work by the Blue Marine Foundation in place to restore kelp beds off the Sussex coast, with a view to rejuvenate the vital marine habitats that have been lost, and in turn help to improve inshore fishing communities that such habitats supported, Bognor Regis and its dedicated fishermen are beginning to see the benefits.

Local fishing hero Clive Mills was nominated for a national fishing award in 2022, and a subsequent film ‘Bognor Fishing - back from the brink’ has been made about the Fishermen Association’s journey in restoring the Town’s rich fishing heritage.

You can find their latest ‘catch’ at the new fishermen’s huts situated on the beach, just East of the Pier, with regular updates provided on their Facebook page.

With plans being discussed to create an education centre, documenting the Town’s fishing history and providing information on the Kelp restoration projects underway throughout Sussex, things are most certainly looking up for the Town’s fishing industry and importantly, the biodiversity of the sea and marine habitat in Bognor Regis shores.


Tree Planting


The Queen’s Green Canopy (QGC) is a nationwide initiative created to mark the Platinum Jubilee and intended to create a living legacy honouring a life-time of service by Her Late Majesty, Queen Elizabeth II. During the first planting season of 2021/2022, over a million trees were planted across the nation.

As part of its commitment to the QGC, Bognor Regis Town Council approved the expenditure of £5,000 for tree planting projects during the 2022/2023 planting season.

It is anticipated that a decision, made at the Bognor Regis in Bloom Working Group meeting, to recommend the planting of mature cordyline trees, will be ratified at the beginning of February 2023.

Working with Arun District Council, it is hoped the trees will be planted in Waterloo Square, before the start of the growing season, and serve as the Town’s lasting tribute to Her Majesty’s extraordinary service to her Country and her people.



Twinning Association

The Bognor Regis Twinning Association is an independently run organisation, consisting of a committee of dedicated volunteers. Whilst running a packed programme of events and activities for its members, throughout the year, such as international film nights, language classes through the ‘German Language Café’, sports games and the very popular ‘Beaujolais Bistro’, the main aim of the Association is to provide an invaluable link with Bognor Regis’ twinned towns of Saint Maur-Des-Fosses in France and Weil am Rhein and Trebbin in Germany.

Participating in visits to the twinned towns whilst staying with ‘host’ families, joining the Association is a fantastic way of exploring new cultures, languages, making friends and building connections. The Association is also responsible for organising visits to Bognor Regis, the most recent of these being in the summer of 2019.

With a particular attention to ensuring young people are afforded the opportunity of exchange visits, the Twinning Association through successful Grant Aid submissions to Bognor Regis Town Council have managed to offer free places under their student programme, which they hope to build on for 2023.

June 2023 will see members of the Association enjoy a return visit to Trebbin and plans are currently underway for an interpretation board to be situated on the Place St Maur, celebrating the links between our ‘Place’ here in Bognor Regis and its namesake in France.

If you would like to find out more about the work of the Bognor Regis Twinning Association, its history or to become a member, please get in touch by emailing:


Events Programme 2023

Wednesday 5th April : Book Day Event

Further details and a ‘theme’ will be confirmed in due course. The event will be held in Hotham Park.


Saturday 6th May : Celebrations and Commemorations to mark the Coronation of King Charles III

Big screen broadcast showing the live Coronation of King Charles III. Location TBC.


Saturday 10th June : Proms in the Park

Bring a picnic and join us for a rousing evening of free entertainment within the beautiful surroundings of Hotham Park.


Sunday 9th July : Drive through Time

Motor Gala with live broadcast of the Silverstone Grand Prix on a big screen at West Park.


1st - 24th August : Funshine Days  (Tues, Weds and Thurs)

A variety of FREE activities and workshops for children throughout the summer holidays.

1st - 10th August : Prom Bandstand

15th - 24th August : Hotham Park Bandstand


Over the Summer (TBC) : Sunday Afternoon Concerts

A series of free concerts, in partnership with the Rotary Clubs of Bognor Regis and BRTC. This event is yet to be confirmed.


Wednesday 25th October : Halloween Event

Further details will be confirmed in due course. This event will be held in Hotham Park.


Saturday 25th November : Christmas Lights Switch-On

The switching on of the Town’s Christmas illuminations for the Festive Season in the Town Centre.




All events are subject to change and land permissions from Arun District Council.


For the full programme of events scheduled and to keep up to date, make sure you follow us on Facebook, Twitter, or visit our website.