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Regeneration meeting bid

Regeneration backers are to be asked to present their ideas to councillors in Bognor Regis.


The backers of various multi-million pound schemes will be invited to state why their proposals should succeed.


It is believed those involved with five of the projects for the Regis Centre and Hothamton car park/Sunken Garden sites are still involved with the projects and could be willing to attend.


Bognor Regis Town Council members agreed on Monday to write to those backers they had been in contact with most recently to gauge their interest in taking part. If there is enough interest, an extraordinary meeting of the council will be held.


Glenna Frost, the town council’s clerk, said:


“We should write to all interested parties to see whether or not they would like to come to talk to us.”


Councillors would be told about the response before their November meeting and asked if they wanted to arrange another meeting.


The move has come after the new Lib Dem-run Arun District Council scrapped the previous Tory administration’s proposals for a linear park to replace the Hothamton car park and Sunken Garden site off Queensway.


It is working on three options to improve the Sunken Garden before the public are consulted about them.


Arun is the landowner of the sites and would have the final say about them.


Cllr Matt Stanley (LD, Marine) said it was important any scheme promoter who met the town council was aware of its limited powers.


“I would be very happy as a town councillor to speak to anyone who is willing to come here and have a presentation. We have to make it clear as a town council that what we can do is to provide feedback on what we think of a scheme,” he said.


The idea of the presentations was raised by Cllr Wayne Smith (LD, Hotham). He asked the council to back a presentation by the Sir Richard Hotham Project.


This envisages large-scale plans with a 1,100-seat theatre, flats and a hotel on the Hothamton site. For the Regis Centre, there will be a retail and leisure boardwalk, flats and a hotel as well as a theatre for its operator, Arun Arts.


“I am happy to look at other projects as well but this one is well down the road. It’s also the only one with planning permission and it has the backing of the University of Chichester and Butlin’s.


“I feel having a presentation from them would be a very good place to start,” said Cllr Smith.


Cllr Inna Erskine (LD, Pevensey) said:


“I am happy to support this but the landscape has changed politically recently both here and at Arun. It would be prudent for us to invite all the other schemes. We can see how much of their schemes is still relevant and if they would like to proceed.”


Cllr Steve Goodheart (I, Hotham) said it would be a good idea to invite senior Arun members for a first joint meeting about the important subject.

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