Bognor students consulted on council’s leisure strategy

Students talking through some of the draft plan's ideas with Arun District Council marketing, filming and events officer Phil Graham.
Students talking through some of the draft plan's ideas with Arun District Council marketing, filming and events officer Phil Graham.

Youngsters across the Bognor Regis area have been among those having their say on a bold blueprint which could transform leisure services around the town.

As part of its public consultation into its draft strategy for leisure and cultural provision Arun District Council has been asking school pupils exactly what they think.

Phil Graham, the council’s marketing, filming and events officer, has been visiting schools to chat to them about the draft plan, and help them fill in questionnaires.

“It is really good to find out what the younger members of the community think about some of the ideas put forward in the draft plan,” said Mr Graham.

“Basically we want as many people as possible to come along to our consultation sessions on the draft leisure strategy and fill in the questionnaires.

“A lot of the ideas in the plan have come from the study Colliers International conducted for us, and it is good to see so many people taking part in our consultation,” he added.

Mr Graham was at Felpham Community College on Tuesday to find out what students thought of the plan’s ambitious ideas.

“The response from the students has been good. A lot of them have filled the questionnaires in rather than asking a lot of questions,” said Mr Graham.

The school which returns the most questionnaires will be presented with a £100 voucher to be used towards sports equipment, and students will be entered into a draw to win an i-pod.

The school visits are just a small part of the consultation into the draft plan which sets out a possible vision for leisure services around the Arun district.

Some of the most eye-catching ideas for around Bognor include a £3.6m refurbishment of the Arun Leisure Centre in Felpham and adding some 150 seats to the Alexandra Theatre.

But residents have voiced concerns that the bowling green and tennis courts at Swansea Gardens look set to be axed.

Doreen Ellis, the president of Pagham Bowls Club, said: “There are two bowling clubs at Swansea Gardens, one with 70 members and the second with 30 members, and the greens are very well used,

“It is also important that our green is now open to accommodate 20 partially-sighted bowlers who use and enjoy it every Tuesday afternoon.

“Should Waterloo Square also be moved to West Park there will be six bowls clubs using the greens there, trying to fit in matches and county competitions.

“We also have a nice clubhouse – bought and paid for by members – which is in constant use by all three groups.

“It is usual after a game of bowls to serve club teas or suppers to visiting clubs after playing matches. Where will these be held?”

Decisions about the strategy will be taken by councillors next January.