Ice rink call for Bognor as regeneration discussed at election debate

Steve Goodheart, Matt Stanley and Francis Oppler are standing in the by-elections on February 22  - and were just three of the seven candidates standing to attend the civic society's election meeting
Steve Goodheart, Matt Stanley and Francis Oppler are standing in the by-elections on February 22 - and were just three of the seven candidates standing to attend the civic society's election meeting

A petition to incorporate a permanent ice rink into regeneration plans for Bognor Regis has been launched.

Bognor Regis Civic Society announced plans at a meeting on Tuesday to lobby Arun District Council, following the ‘terrific success’ of the temporary attraction in the town over Christmas.

The petition’s launch came amid a meeting called to discuss the town and district by-elections on February 22.

Seven candidates are standing in three by-elections – for Arun’s Marine and Bognor Town Council’s Marine and Hatherleigh wards.

But just Liberal Democrat Matt Stanley, standing in both Marine wards, Arun Independent candidate Steve Goodheart and Hatherleigh hopeful Francis Oppler attended.

Regeneration was a hot topic, with no-one in the small audience expressing support for Arun’s plans to turn the Hothamton car park site into a ‘linear park’ in a straw poll. All three candidates also expressed concerns.

“I don’t believe this has got any place in Bognor’s regeneration,” said Mr Goodheart, who insisted a town-wide masterplan was needed, incorporating several sites and the ‘stunning’ seafront.

Mr Stanley echoed consultation concerns of the civic society. Arun leader Gill Brown in January claimed ‘overwhelming’ public support for the linear park – despite just over 120 people attending a public exhibition.

Society deputy chairman Hugh Coster said residents had been lied to over promises there would be more green space and extra parking spaces.

“About half a per cent (of the town) attended the consultation that day,” Mr Stanley said, calling for better consultation over the plans.

Mr Oppler said: “I don’t think there is anyone here or in the street that could be able to explain to me how this little micro park is going to regenerate the town. It is not.”

Contact Bognor_Civic_Society@hotmail.com for more details about the ice rink petition. Forms can be signed at the Picturedrome, with more details to be announced.

The society said the facility could be multi-use, available for activities like roller skating or a performance space.