Councillor Phil Hitchins says the purchase of the Arcade in Bognor Regis by Arun District Council is a great opportunity for the regeneration of the town.
Mr Hitchins, chairman of the Bognor Regis regeneration sub committee, was speaking after it was announced that the iconic shopping location had been bought as the council continues to invest in the town.
Working with local agents and Toyubur Rahman, the town centre manager, the council says it aims to fill the vacant units, improve the premises and restore this unique shopping arcade as a key attraction in the town.
The Arcade is strategically located between the heart of the town centre and the Regis Centre development site owned by the council, where there are plans for renaissance projects.
The council says improvement of this essential retail area “will deliver a sound investment as it looks to invest in suitable commercial property to provide income for future years”.
And Mr Hitchins said: “This is a great opportunity for the regeneration of the town. The council can now protect and care for the Arcade as one of the most attractive, desirable and best located retail buildings in the town.
“As the Arcade is currently home to about a third of all the vacant properties across the whole town centre, we look forward to working with the Town Centre Manager and other partners, and seeing the Arcade filled with new and vibrant local businesses once again.”
Councillor Stephen Haymes, Arun District Council’s cabinet member for technical services, confirmed: “The council is to be the proud owner of the Arcade in the town centre. As part of our property investment strategy, we are buying the freehold of the Arcade first and foremost to generate an income stream for the council.
“We look forward to working with the current tenants, and we know that the Arcade has real potential to grow this income as the vacant units are let.”