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Drinking fears

Fears about an increase in yobbish behaviour around Bognor Regis have been raised by councillors.


They fiercely criticised the shrunken area in the town centre Bognor Regis which has been suggested for a continued anti-social behaviour crackdown.


The intended location of the latest public space protection order in which excessive drinking is banned is centred on the town centre.


It omits the public spaces in surrounding areas, like King George V Playing Field in Felpham, which are covered by the current legislation.


Councillors on Arun District Council’s Bognor Regis regeneration sub-committee said they feared excluding known sites for yobbish could cause problems for those in those areas.


Cllr Paul English (C, Felpham E) said the scope for the new order, due to take effect next March, would leave other sites wide open for yobs to act without fear.


“What has happened to Larksfield, King George V playing field, Felpham seafront?”


he said.


“It seems like Bognor Regis is OK, happy days. It seems like Littlehampton is OK, happy days but the other parishes have been left wide open.


“I am concerned that we are removing whole swathes of various parishes. I know Bognor Regis has got tremendous problems with drinking and misbehaviour. But I can’t support this.


“It is so wrong. What has happened has removed everywhere else.


“It shows the wrong thinking to the rest of the parishes and the rest of the residents of Arun – that the town centres are the only things Arun is thinking about.”


The sub-committee agreed to tell Arun’s cabinet all the currently covered public spaces should be restored in the new order.


The cabinet is due to discuss the intended protection orders next month before all councillors will be asked to approve their adoption for April 2020.


The Bognor Regis area put forward stretches from the east side of the Longford Road railway footbridge to Church Path to the seafront at Clarence Road and along to the pier and northwards to the railway station.


Another area has been put forward for Littlehampton town centre. The current order covers almost all the district’s populated areas.


Denise Vine, Arun’s senior regeneration officer, said she believed the decision had been taken to shrink the protection order areas because of difficulties dispersing people causing problems when the order gave blanket coverage.


But Cllr David Edwards (C, Felpham E) said:


“I am really concerned about this. I understand the issues in the town centre are really specific but they are not unique.


“We really need to look at this again to understand what exactly is going on.”


Cllr Elaine Stainton (C, Felpham W) said:


“This seems to be totally wrong to me. This should definitely be looked at properly.


“We have got huge problems with alcohol, drug taking and bad behaviour. It is huge.”


A public consultation carried out by the district council ended last Friday with 749 responses received.

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