BACKING for a bigger Morrisons in Bognor Regis town centre has been given in the final public act of a regeneration leader.
Richard McMann, the co-ordinator of the Bognor Regis regeneration task force, said the scheme by the retailer to almost double its selling space to 32,050 sq ft was to be welcomed.
Mr McMann’s role is being on March 31 when funding for the task force runs out.
But he has told Arun District Council’s planning officers that Morrisons’ plan to replace its Bedford Street outlet – being considered by the council – met many of the task force’s aspirations to improve Bognor.
“A new, larger and enhanced store is likely to generate an increase over current usage and spending levels not only at the store itself but potentially at other town centre outlets too,” he said in a statement.
“A new, larger and enhanced store in the town centre will offer shoppers more local choice.
“And Morrisons are a strong town centre existing occupier and operator and this proposal signals their intention to remain and grow in the town.
“Additionally, the applicant states that an additional 75 jobs will be generated from the new store.”
The proposal to place the intended larger store on the site’s High Street frontage was also to be welcomed, he said.
But he said the district council, which owns the Morrisons site and the Fitzleet multi-storey car park above, needed to agree some important issues in its separate lease negotiations.
Public toilets had to be provided in the new development if the existing Bedford Street loos went in the changes.
The amount of parking also had to be kept.
He said the 446 spaces in Morrisons’ plans failed to match the current 507 spaces – 332 in Fitzleet and 175 in the Morrisons’ car park.
Morrisons should also copy fellow retailer Sainsbury’s by signing the Bognor Regis developer and partner charter to promote local companies in the redevelopment and undertake to train staff to boost wages and skills.