Go-ahead for new Bognor flats

A fourth attempt to replace a Bognor Regis office building with flats has been approved.

Councillors reluctantly gave the go-ahead for the redevelopment of the site on the corner of Durban Road and Ash Grove after they had rejected the previous bids since 2007.

The vote in favour of 10-0 with four abstentions by Arun District Council’s development control committee last week came after its previous meeting had put off a decision.

Members wanted to find out the view of the council’s economic chief, Cllr Norman Dingemans, about the potential loss of space for jobs.

But Cllr Dingemans’ officers said they had no objection about the scheme being approved.

Cllr Julie Hazelhurst (Angmering) said anyone who wanted to live in one of the eight one-bed and six two-bed flats should beware of the nature of the surrounding area.

“This is an area – Durban Road – in which we want to pursue plans for an enterprise zone and it’s something we would like to see go forward.

“Any future occupiers of the housing will have to take note of the fact they are living near an enterprise zone,” she said.

“But, in the light of what has happened with recent applications, I feel we have no alternative but to approve this application,” she added.

The committee had been recommended in December to agree to the scheme by P Hudson and P Meredith.

Planning officer Juan Baeza used the latest meeting to repeat his recommendation. The current layout of the scheme met the concerns of a planning inspector who had rejected a previous proposal.

The inspector did not consider the loss of space for jobs to merit rejecting the flats.

She also ordered the council to pay part of the appeal costs of the applicants because of its failure to approve the scheme earlier.

Bognor Regis Town Council had objected to the scheme because of the loss of an industrial use and opportunity for jobs. Bersted Parish Council believed priority should be given to business development rather than housing.