A WAR of words has broken out about claims Bognor Regis is being short-changed by plans for a new park.
The town’s civic society says the linear park scheme for Hothamton put forward by Arun District Council was not fit for purpose and added little to the town.
But the council has stated the society’s measurements are wrong and the area available in which children will be able to play is larger than the current play area. Hugh Coster, vice-chairman of the society, was among those who went along to the exhibition on the proposals last Friday.
“Their garden areas were made to look as though they amounted to the full width of the present gardens,” he said, “and we find that, in reality, they will be less than half the width we have at present. Right now there is space for children to run freely for the whole length of the gardens over a width of about 47m.
“Yet, if Arun have their way, this will be reduced to about 20m. Arun are sneakily short-changing Bognor Regis with half a park in place of what we already have.”
Mr Coster claimed the new arrangement would also mix cars with children playing, unlike the current well separated layout.
“Either side and down the full length of their proposed small strip of green they will have some 17m width of roadway and parked cars, which is totally barmy.
“It might be a little different if they were adding something that the town doesn’t already have, but they are not.”
He also criticised the idea of blocks of flats which was likely to worsen the existing wind tunnel effect along Queensway and called for a radical rethink.
“More large blocks of flats are not what the town needs,” he said.
But an Arun spokesman said: “It is always important to understand how to take existing infrastructure within our towns, such as surface car parks and established parks, and consider how they could be better used to make places more attractive, enjoyable and distinctive.
“The new park will include the site of the existing sunken gardens, which are underused and currently prone to anti-social behaviour. The new park will be an inviting, safe and versatile space that the whole community will enjoy using.”
The current 39m park width compared to the 27m of the linear park but park’s overall length would increase from 100m to 167m to provide more space for children to run freely, he said.
“The park area is currently shown as increasing from 4,130sq m to 4,4435sq m…so an increase in area of 305sq m.
“There is no potential conflict for vehicles and children within the park as the linear rain gardens and footpath separate the cars and also act as hardworking sustainable urban drainage features.”
The raised crossing points to both spine roads would provide defined crossing points and with accompanying rumble strips/tactile paving to slow drivers.