Bognor Regis Investigation

As my coursework is going to be about Bognor Regis, I have decided to first include a short history of the town: Bognor Regis has had many name changes throughout the ages. Originally the town was named after a Saxon woman named Bucge who had landed there at about 680AD. It’s earliest recorded form, Bucganora, means `Bucge’s Shore’. 1404 had brought yet another name change to this medieval fishing Hamlet as it now took on the name Bogenor, which is quite close to the name it has today. By 1785 the Hamlet was now known as Bognor Rock’s, and The Yorkshire

Hatter, MP for Southwark, Sir Richard Hotham, bought land and in 1791 had once again renamed the place Hathampton. This would mean that the town is either 1321 or 216 years old, but the correct answer would be 72 years. In 1929, after King George V had recuperated there following a lung operation, transferred the name `Regis’ on to the town. But King George V was not the only one of the Royal family to enjoy the area. Princess Charlotte, who tragically died at 21 during Childbirth, Princess Victoria, niece of King George IV who became the country’s longest reigning monarch, and Queen

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Elizabeth II all spent happy childhood summers there. One of Bognor Regis’ most visited attractions was it’s pier. The pier opened in 1865 and at 1000 feet long, and at a cost of £5000, took 18 months to build. Twelve new shops were then built, after new owners purchased the pier for the equivalent of only 50p in 1908. Four years later they decided to add a 1400-seater theatre. For nearly 30 years people have flocked to the pier to witness the International Bognor Birdman competition and the pier was also used in the two world wars.

The key question given to me for my Bognor Regis Coursework was `Have entral urban areas become unattractive places? ‘. This question relates to whether places are experiencing Urban Decay. Urban decay is a situation where urban areas become unattractive to live in or visit. Urban decay can consist of an increase in vandalism, lack of facilities, deprivation of open space and crime on a higher scale. We can both indicate and measure urban decay by looking at certain aspects. Three types of urban decay are social, environmental and economic decline.

Social decay includes matters such as crime, vandalism, lack of services, unemployment, racism and a break down in community pirit. Environmental decay incorporates factors such as a lack of open spaces, poor state of buildings, pollution (litter and rubbish included), graffiti and empty properties. Economic decay contains aspects such as lack of businesses, facilities and services. This decay can lead to a spiral of decline. This means unemployment from closed businesses could lead to less money in the community which again means more businesses are forced to close.

These occurrences continues to occur leading to fuel the spiral of decline which is extremely detrimental to the area. As a class we have already studied a case of an urban area in decay, this place was Docklands. Docklands was an area which was once a thriving place. So much so that by the 18th century the quays and wharves around the river Thames and the pool of London was seriously congested. The idea that was put forward to aid the situation was to build docks below the pool of London.

This was where the marshlands were, which was convenient because the ground could be easily excavated. Also the increasing size of ships and the problems like the difficult loading and unloading of ships that size in tidal currents, ith the reoccurrence of thieves stealing from the ships made a new system a necessity. This system was used to allow ships in at high tide all the time by the use of locked gates, they were unloaded at Dockside. Many of these docks were built which gradually made Britain the most important port in the world. Dock owners were very wealthy in the 19th century.

The Docks were taken over by a government group called the ` port of London Authority’. The Docklands area prospered until the 1960’s when it became unsuitable for modern shipping because of a new technique of handling goods, this was called containerisation. The docks were now too small, freight-handling facilities were outdated, and new larger, more technologically advanced ships meant that the docks were too far away from seas and the demand for faster turn around times lead ship owners to believe that coming to port in Britain was a waste of valuable time. ig. 1 The Port of London Authority chose not to redevelop the Docklands area, deciding to invest elsewhere. The place they chose was Tilbury, Essex, (see fig. 1) where the Thames was wide and deep and the larger ships were able to enter the docks, this caused the deterioration of he Docklands. Now only a few specialised Berths remained. Workers argued whether or not to refurbishment of the area would have saved thousands of jobs. The decision of the PLA not to regenerate Docklands made 15000 people unemployed.

Then an organisation was set up which was put in place to both monitor and improve the economic, social and environmental conditions of the Docklands area, the London Docklands Development corporation was set up in 1981. The LDDC made many changes to the area:- Socially- They had built 19800 homes, built from old warehouses, and ade both luxury and Local Authority Housing attractive. New facilities were made for the community; such as shopping centres, sports facilities, a marina, parks and a technology college.

Millions were spent on health, education and training. Economic- Improved transport links were made. The Docklands Light Railway, which carries 320000 people-a-week, connects with both Bank and Monument underground stations. From 1996 it has also been extended east, to Beckton, and southwards to Lewisham. The Jubilee extension gives new access to Waterloo and London Bridge mainline stations. New roads, including a link with the M11, and an airport, City Airport , have been built.

Due to LDDC investment both business and employment have rose. Employment grew from 27000 to over 70000 and businesses have grown from around 1000 to 2400 respectively from 1981 to 1996. Big businesses have found the area attractive and many media groups including national newspapers (Guardian and Daily Telegraph newspaper headquarters), and high-tech businesses such as the Stock exchange, with help from low rates from the UDC, have decided to make Docklands their home. Environmental- 728 hectares of derelict land was reclaimed. 60000 trees were planted and 130 hectares of open space was given to the area along with 17 conservation areas being created. To investigate and answer the key question, it will help me to look at 4 key issues, these will provide the answer to our key question.

The first key issue I will look at is whether there is evidence of urban decay in Bognor Regis? I will be able to decide this for myself once I have visited the area and collected all the information I require. Bognor Regis is situated in the South of England as seen in fig. 2. Fig. The second key issue I will look in to is whether the local environment and people’s lives have been affected by urban decay? This will show me what kind of state the area is in and how people feel about the area. The third of the key issues asks how could run down areas of the town be improved. I will be able to incorporate this question into an actual questionnaire because I would like to obtain this answer from the people currently residing in Bognor Regis. The last of the key issues looks at whether different sections of the population have different views concerning these issues.

On first glance I would think this to be true, but undoubtedly there will be certain people in the community who would see this differently. I believe that the answers to my key issues will reflect on common problems that urban areas have. There may be major or minor issues that Bognor Regis faces with the environment , such as pollution and decaying terraced housing, the economy, like poverty and declining industries and general social problems like high numbers of single parents or high concentrations of young /old people. Other people may find the concept of tourism not so beneficial to heir area.

Although they may see the benefit of the money, which helps the economy, the fact that so many people are now coming to their community that it may end up being detrimental to the residents as a whole. Other businesses that now rely on the tourism industry in their area, are losing business because of airline companies offering cheaper flights to foreign destinations. Now, when once families would take a holiday to the seaside’s along Britain’s coast, they are taking advantage of the cheap flights available to them and ignoring the seaside locations, damaging their economy.