Campaigners hand petition to Bognor MP

Paula Campbell supported by MP Nick Gibb with the petition against the hotel  closure.   Picture by Louise Adams C131083-1
Paula Campbell supported by MP Nick Gibb with the petition against the hotel closure. Picture by Louise Adams C131083-1

THE town’s MP has thrown his weight behind campaigners battling to save an Aldwick hotel.

MP for Bognor Regis and Littlehampton Nick Gibb was handed a 700-plus strong petition on Monday by supporters of the Russell Hotel who want to stop its closure.

Mr Gibb said: “I have received a lot of letters from a lot of local people who are very upset and concerned about the closure of the hotel.

“Clearly this is an important facility for the blind and partially sighted people visiting the town but also residents as well.

“The hotel is a safe place for those who are visually impaired and it also has a safe access to the seafront.”

As well as its special features for holidaymakers, the Kings Parade hotel has a swimming pool used by local residents.

Many have been referred there by their GPs.

Mr Gibb said: “The pool, as I understand, has been specially adapted to make it easier for elderly users and those with mobility issues to get in and out thanks to sloping steps, and it is also warmer than a usual pool.

“Exercise is so important for these people and this facility gives them a safe place to do it.”

Mr Gibb said he fears the hotel’s owners may have underestimated the amount of residents who use the facilities.

Mr Gibb, who originally opened the hotel, has also written to the hotel manager and chief executive of Action for Blind People.

“The petition will now be sent to Action for Blind People’s headquarters, I know the campaigners are aiming to reach 1,000 signatures.”

The 40-bedroom hotel for blind and partially-sighted visitors is due to be sold by Action for Blind People this October to another charity, Livability, to convert into a residential home.

The hotel was the first in England to be built for blind and partially-sighted people when the current building was opened in 2002.

Regular user Joan Lambert said: “I use the pool once a week, it used to be two but I can’t manage that anymore.

“The pools is really important to the local residents and people who use it.”