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Possible fund for town ideas

More than half a million pounds could be available to help to regenerate Bognor Regis.


The money is set to be unallocated in Arun District Council’s capital budget for the forthcoming financial year.


Council financial services manager Carolyn Martlew told councillors the cash was a potential boost for the project.


She said: “This leaves an unallocated balance of £610,000 which could be utilised to fund the enhancement of the Bognor Regis seafront/Sunken Garden scheme in Bognor Regis.


“However, this should be viewed against the council’s other priorities and the limited funding available for capital enhancements and one off projects.”


She also stated Arun was ready to spend more money on saving Pagham from being flooded.


“An additional £50,000 is required for two years for coast protection work at Pagham,” she said.


Her statements were noted by Arun’s overview select committee on Tuesday without comment.


Also in line for spending from the £1.20million capital budget for high priority projects is £250,000 on Fitzleet multi-storey car park, off Queensway, and £150,000 each for public toilets and car park resurfacing.


In Littlehampton, £200,000 will be spent on the town centre as part of a £3m-plus project.


Ms Martlew outlined the financial challenges which faced the council as support from the government declined.


This would mean a potential 2.73 per cent increase – or £4.95 – in council tax for a band D household in the year from April. The rise was noted by the committee and was recommended to cabinet members for backing early next month. The budget will then go to a special meeting of all councillors on February 19.


In spite of the rise, the council will be taking £617,000 from its reserves to balance its books to cut them to about £6.4m. Ms Martlew warned that situation could not continue.


Cllr Paul Dendle (C, Arundel) said the proposed council tax rise was way above the 1.4 per cent consumer prices Index measure of inflation last month.


“How can we justify that when our staff are likely to get a two per cent pay rise? They will be poorer just by living in the Arun district,” he said.


Cllr Jamie Bennett (LD, Rustington W) said the increase was to counter county council cutbacks in homeless support and recycling credits.


“We are having to increase our precept to cover the county council’s actions,” he said.


Cllr Paul English (C, Felpham E) said Arun had been ‘stuffed’ by the county council’s decision to tear up its deal to pay recycling credits.


Cllr Hugh Coster (I, Aldwick E), the committee’s chairman, said: “I know looking forward it’s going to become more difficult to balance the budget. That’s what we have to be careful of.”

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