Councillor steps up fight to save Bognor’s Sunken Gardens

ks180245-4 Bog Sunken Garden  phot kate'From left:: District councillors Martin Smith,Francis Oppler, and Matt Stanley discuss the campaign to save the sunken gardens.ks180245-4 SUS-180522-151720008
ks180245-4 Bog Sunken Garden phot kate'From left:: District councillors Martin Smith,Francis Oppler, and Matt Stanley discuss the campaign to save the sunken gardens.ks180245-4 SUS-180522-151720008

A town councillor has stepped up the fight to save Bognor Regis’ Sunken Gardens.

Lib Dems have been critical of Arun District Council’s regeneration proposals for the green space and the nearby Hothamton car park site calling for more consultation and details.

Earlier this year they launched a petition to save the open space in the town and stop Arun’s plans for a linear park on the Sunken Gardens site.

Matt Stanley, a Lib Dem town and district councillor, has applied to Historic England to have the gardens listed as an asset of historic importance. He said: “It is unfortunate, but absolutely clear to me that if as a community we wish to have any meaningful input into our town it is something we will have to challenge for at every turn. I am more than happy to take on that challenge.”

Since being elected earlier this year, he described how he has become ‘more and more dismayed at the lack of respect Arun District Council has shown for our town’s heritage’.

He added: “Preservation and Regeneration do not have to be at loggerheads and Arun District Council need to understand that. We’ve lost so many precious landmarks already we need to look after the ones we have left.”

He pointed out how the town’s neighbourhood plan identifies the Sunken Gardens as a ‘key historic landscape area valued by the community and visually important in the conservation area’.

A spokesman for Arun District Council said: “Arun District Council will be interested to know the outcome of Cllr Stanley’s enquiry to Historic England and can confirm that any plans for regeneration will remain respectful of the area while ensuring that Bognor Regis can offer an up-to-date and relevant experience for residents and visitors.”

What do you think? Email the newsdesk.