OPERATORS of the theatre in Bognor Regis have rejected plans to redevelop the site.
Arun Arts says it is totally against a scheme to demolish the Regis Centre and replace it with a 1,100-seat venue.
The charity’s chairman, Hazel Latus, says it has no objections to the regeneration scheme by the Sir Richard Hotham Project going ahead. But it regarded them as an unacceptable move into the unknown.
Mrs Latus said: “The Sir Richard Hotham Project have put in place plans that affect us if passed. They want to pull our building down to make way for flats. The idea being that we would split our usage requirements with the new venue.
“Even offered first call on dates, it would not be practical. Whilst we applaud choice and obviously wish them well, the trust agree as do our members and volunteers that we cannot afford to be part of it by giving up our site.
“Our business model would not survive if we lost out current building and having to wait for a new build would ensure we would lose our volunteers and likely our business – which is growing.”
The comments from Mrs Latus have been publicised by Arun District Council as part of its ongoing consultation into the £80m redevelopment.
The Sir Richard Hotham Project wants to use the Regis Centre site – with its 350 seat Alexandra Theatre – for flats, a 59-room hotel and a boardwalk with leisure facilities such as a spa and gym plus shops, bars and restaurants.
It proposes to build a 1,100 seat theatre and conference centre on the Hothamton car park along with a 48 bedroom hotel.
The project’s promoters have included Arun Arts in a standalone theatre or centre in their latest plans.
“We do not know how this will be achieved or, indeed, how many seats we will have and – above all – if it will have a proscenium arch in the auditorium,” she said.
In contrast, the Alexandra Theatre boasted great sight lines and a proscenium arch to offer a unique theatre experience for its users and customers and had a three year plan to help attract grants.
She said: “We currently have many more productions/hirers and events within the Regis Centre than ever before. We are still growing and already programming into 2018. As a registered charity and community asset, we are well placed in the heart of the town to be part of, and contribute to, the local community and holiday makers alike.”
Arun Arts has decades left on its lease. Its landlord is Whitbread on a site owned by Arun District Council.