Call for Bognor Regis residents to have only say

ONLY Bognor Regis residents should comment on the town’s regeneration plans, its civic society has demanded.

An informal vote on the matter among its members saw a unanimous vote in reserving a say on the future of the Regis Centre and Hothamton car parks for those who live around the town.

Arun District Council intends to consult with people across the district when the latest schemes for the key sites are submitted next year.

But Sandy Fothergill-Robinson told the society’s latest meeting on Friday, December 5, it was time for the opinions of Bognor’s residents to be counted.

“None of us want to have done to us what is being done,” she said. “We need the voice of the entire community to be heard. This is a seaside community and we need to remember that.”

Laurie Barnes, the society’s chairman, said: “Consultation should only be for the people of Bognor.

“People outside should not have a say.

“We’ve never had a say in what goes on in Littlehampton.

“We’ve never been offered it and we don’t want it.

“It’s up to the people there what they want.”

Interested groups have until February 15 to submit their multi-million pound ideas to regenerate Bognor.

Some three or four community groups, as well as several private developers, are set to come forward with their proposals.

Arun District Council’s top planning officer, Karl Roberts, said it was only right to consult a wider area than just Bognor once detailed schemes began to emerge because some of the council’s money could be spent on backing the chosen project and those who funded the council were entitled to have their say.

“Consultation will take place in mid February/early March for a few weeks. The responses of what people want to see and don’t want to see and how the scheme should be paid for – private developers or public money – will be given to councillors in June,” he said.

Mr Roberts said it was possible community groups and developers could both propose schemes: “A range of ideas have come forward. I’m really hoping they will all put forward their ideas.”

District councillor Francis Oppler said the deadline was too soon. “February 15 is too short a deadline. St Modwen had eight years. You are giving other people months,” he said.

“The deadline should be in the summer or autumn.”

Arun’s councillors decided last September to invite fresh ideas for the sites after St Modwen quit its agreement to develop them with a mix of flats, a hotel and multiplex for the Regis Centre and flats and some retail for Hothamton.