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Fresh schemes for town site

New regeneration ideas for a key Bognor Regis location will be put forward by senior councillors next week.

 

The cabinet members of Arun District Council are meeting on Monday to come up with plans for the Sunken Garden.

 

It will be the first time fresh regeneration proposals for the land between the Hothamton car park off Queensway and West Street have been considered since the Lib Dem-run council scrapped the previous idea.

 

Ditching the Pavilion Park idea for the garden and the car park was among the first decisions made by the cabinet after the council elections last May.

 

Cllr Matt Stanley, the cabinet member for technical services, said:

 

“The next stage is to come up with three designs to put out to public consultation.

 

“There is a cabinet workshop on November 11 where we will be providing officers with the kind of ideas and steers in terms of what will this regeneration may well be.

 

“The officers will be coming back in the new year with what has been designed and, hopefully, these will be going out for consultation.

 

“Public realm opportunities for the Place St Maur will be discussed at the workshop as well.”

 

But he said ideas for the Regis Centre site – the second of the regeneration locations under the previous Conservative council’s Gardens by the Sea initiative – were not about to be discussed by councillors.

 

Cllr Stanley (LD, Marine) rejected a call from Cllr Paul English (C, Felpham E) for the Pavilion Park designs to be among the three ideas to be consulted on because the site to be re-invigorated was now much smaller.

 

Cllr English said the council had spent a large sum – he quoted £500,000 – on the Pavilion Park idea which would now be wasted.

 

“Moving forward in a new way is a good thing and I am up for it,”

 

he said.

 

“But I don’t understand throwing something out when 90 per cent of the work has been put into it.

 

“Put it to the public and let them throw it out. It’s not going to cost any more money.”

 

Cllr Tony Dixon (I, Aldwick E) said it was taking too long to get ideas generated for the seafront Regis Centre site.

 

“We are now six months into the council and nothing is happening. We should get on with it,” he said.

 

“We should have a short-term strategy for some quick wins and we must not lose sight of the long-term strategy that really is focused around the Regis Centre site. We really have to get it moving.”

 

It had been four years since the public were asked to devise ideas for the location, he said. He asked what had happened to the schemes.

 

Denise Vine, Arun’s senior regeneration officer, said 1,500 responses were received.

 

They contained 10 specific proposals, of which the Sir Richard Hotham Project was the most commercially developed.

 

Elements of those ideas – an hotel, parking and open space among them – were distilled into a proposal that could be developed.

 

“Very comprehensive feasibility and viability studies were done for the Regis Centre site,” she added.

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