PARISHES in the Bognor Regis area could be abolished under a new plan.
The local authorities, which date back to 1894, face being replaced by an overall council.
Bognor Regis Town Council has asked Arun District Council to consider reparishing the area. Arun’s chief executive, Nigel Lynn, had yet to respond this week. But Aldwick council’s chairman, Cllr Lilian Richardson, told its members she was annoyed at the proposal.
“Two weeks ago the clerk was made aware that the policy and resources committee of Bognor Regis Town Council had written a letter to the chief executive of Arun District Council requesting him to consider the re-parishing of the wider Bognor Regis area.
“Unfortunately, the parishes concerned were not made aware of this proposal,” she said.
“The clerks and chairmen of the local parishes have individually sent letters to the town council expressing their disappointment at the lack of communication and their surprise at the lack of protocol at not having the approval of the full council before approaching Arun.
“If I receive any further information from either the town council or Arun, I will keep you up to date.”
Letters of dissent have also been sent by Pagham and Bersted councils.
The Local Government Act 1974, which set out the current structure of councils in England, placed the town council and its five surrounding councils on a legal par as parish councils.
Some, like Bognor Regis and Pagham, date back to 1894. Others, like Aldwick, were set up in 1984.
Previous attempts in the past 30 years to create an over-riding Bognor Regis council, sometimes under the ‘One Bognor’ banner, have failed amid opposition from the parishes.
The latest move dates back to this year’s Bognor Regis electors’ meeting last March. The vote for the restructure was passed to the town council’s policy and resources committee on June 3.
Its town clerk, Glenna Frost, wrote to Mr Lynn:
“As agreed by the committee, I am therefore writing to you to formally request that Arun District Council consider the reparishing of the wider Bognor Regis area.”
The matter was further debated at the committee last Monday. Its draft minutes show Mrs Frost told the councillors a meeting had been held with Arun to discuss the background to the request.
Members resolved to discuss Arun’s response at their next meeting in September. They also agreed to write to the surrounding parishes to acknowledge the issues they had raised.
The minutes state a councillor saying: “It (reparishing) was not about abolishing parishes but may be the case that parishes are reclustered whereby two parishes, perhaps, are unified.
“The councillor suggested that looking at parish boundaries could allow for fairer precept contributions across the wider Bognor Regis urban area.”
The committee members also spoke about town centre residents paying to stage events enjoyed by those who live in the surrounding areas or asking those councils to contribute towards the costs.