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Petition gains support

HUNDREDS of people have demanded a halt to plans for a linear park in Bognor Regis.


Several hundred supporters were known to have backed a petition by the town’s Liberal Democrats by Wednesday afternoon. The growing support to stop the plan for the Sunken Gardens and Hothamton car park in just six days puts them on their way to reaching their goal of 1,500 names.


Cllr Francis Oppler, one of the councillors behind the petition, said he was pleased with the support.


“We will keep the petition open until September. If we get to 1,500 names, it will trigger a debate at Arun District Council to ask them to withdraw the proposal. That would really be people power in action.


“The Sunken Gardens have long been a landmark in Bognor Regis. Arun have spent no money on them. It is only the community gardeners who have kept them looking nice.


“The issues on that site will not go away, whether they are the Sunken Gardens or a linear park.”


Another joint organiser of the petition, Cllr Matt Stanley, said: “The petition has been really well received. I’ve had 30 emails from people offering to distribute it.”


The petition states: “We the undersigned are petitioning Arun District Council to halt the progression of their linear park redevelopment, a proposal that could include blocks of flats being built on the car park and health centre site.


“We request a debate at full council to develop a plan for a community led alternative that will generate economic growth in the town, as well as deliver a regeneration scheme that will benefit future generations.”


Under Arun’s procedures, a debate of up to 30 minutes has to be held among all its councillors if petitions of more than 1,500 names are submitted.


The petition was launched at a public meeting held by the Lib Dems last Thursday.


Also at the meeting, town council Labour member Cllr Jan Cosgrove called for people to join an application to apply for the Sunken Gardens to be registered in law as a town green to protect them as an open space. He said: “If we achieve that, we will stop these plans once and for all. We have the evidence to register them and the law is clear.”

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