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Park protests are criticised

A LEADING Conservative has claimed most Bognor Regis residents want the planned linear park.


Cllr Phil Hitchins heads the Bognor Regis regeneration sub-committee of Arun District Council.


He said the opponents of the £3.5m scheme were unrepresentative of public opinion and were just wasting time and money in continuing to object to it.


“I have received many emails and comments on how much residents appreciate what is going on in Bognor Regis – so many I have lost count.


“The silent majority want regeneration and want it now, not in three or four years’ time,” he said.


“After all this exposure, I have not received even one – yes, not one – comment or email saying the new park is not wanted.


“So (the opponents) should stop wasting Bognor Regis taxpayers’ money and let us get on with the job. Regeneration is working for all of us.”


The Hothamton linear park scheme is proposed by Arun to create a new public open space on the site of the current car park off Queensway and sunken garden next door.


The new park is intended to cater for a variety of uses for adults and children, with a play area, adult gym, cafes and a potential boules pitch.


Water features, public seating and cycle routes could also be included. Opponents of the linear park claim it will have less green space and less car parking spaces than the current areas.


The Liberal Democrats are holding a public meeting at 7pm on June 21 at the Jeneses Arts Centre in Linden Road to rally opposition to the ambitious plan.


As reported, one of the Lib Dems, Cllr Matt Stanley, said they wanted to give the public a platform to voice their concerns about the project and to share their thoughts and provide input into a community-led alternative for the area.


He and his fellow councillors also intend to launch a petition to request that Arun immediately stops the linear park project.


But Cllr Hitchins said: “I am dismayed that a handful of disgruntled political activists and town councillors are attempting to disrupt and stop the regeneration of Bognor Regis, claiming they did not know enough about it. What a load of old tosh.


“It has been publicised for the past year in newspapers, articles and even the BBC news.


“I have written about it on many occasions. In April 2017, September 2017, November 2017 and February 2018, my articles were distributed to about 14,000 households across Bognor Regis.


“In the spring edition of Arun Times, distributed to in excess of 70,000 households, there was a full page dedicated to the new park. If that’s not publicity, what is?”

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