A SOCIAL media poll is to be carried out by Bognor Regis town councillors about the future of regeneration.
The online survey will take place while the councillors ask Arun District Council to think again about its proposals for two key sites in the town.
The decisions were agreed by a decisive majority of Bognor Regis Town Council members on Monday 10-2, with two abstentions.
But the vote took place after town councillor Damien Enticott (L, Hatherleigh) walked out of the debate.
Cllr Enticott had proposed a newspaper poll at the town council’s previous meeting in May to enable more public consultation into the schemes for the Hothamton and Regis Centre sites to be carried out.
He was unhappy the final motion agreed by councillors was put forward by just two members on a working group.
It was wrong such a small number should change the ideas from an earlier meeting, he complained.
“It should be at least half of the councillors who do that,” he said before he left the council chamber.
The final recommendation was proposed by his Labour colleague, Cllr Jan Cosgrove (Orchard). It states: “That the town council approach Arun District Council to see if there is any interest in
them meeting with developers, who have a realistic prospect of carrying schemes through, and seeing what common ground can be found.”
It committed the town council to spending less than £250 on its online poll, which could reach at least 55,000 residents in the PO21 and PO22 area.
The poll will ask their name, ages, post code and to rate the regeneration schemes – there could be at least four – in order of preference in a process overseen by six town councillors. September 1 would be its start date and it could last for two weeks. A town hall display, with a ballot box for votes, would complement the social media survey.
Cllr Cosgrove said it was vital residents had a say in what happened on the two major sites.
“This is not Arun’s land we are talking about. It’s our land. It belongs to Bognor Regis. When Arun disappears, hopefully, it will be ceded to the next council. These are the last two publicly owned spaces we have in the town,” he said.
“Arun seem to think they don’t have to deal with anyone. This is time for this council to tell Arun on behalf of our town we don’t want a half-baked scheme but a realistic development.”
Cllr Matt Stanley (LD, Marine) said it was important to remember the idea for more public consultation arose at the annual electors’ meeting last March.
“Our electorate has asked us to move this one. We should vote for this,” he said.
But Cllr Sandra Daniells (I, Pevensey) said Arun had carried out a major consultation into the proposed schemes in 2015.
“Regeneration schemes always take a long time and, whatever is built on those sites, has to be viable. If you criticise Arun, they will shut you out. But, if accept they are going to go ahead, you might be able to have some influence on them,” she said