Fresh calls made for paving rethink

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RENEWED calls have been made for a rethink about installing new paving outside Bognor Regis railway station.

Light grey bricks are set to be put down around 
the forecourt to link 
with the redesigned London Road precinct which is taking shape.

But councillors have again said they feared the latest look will clash with the historic appearance of the station and its surroundings.

Cllr Francis Oppler (LD) told the joint western Arun area committee’s recent meeting: “The red brick paving works well in the four corners of that conservation area. All the people I have spoken to believe it complements the area and the design of the Picturedrome and the railway station.

“Smartening up and refurbishing the red brick paving would transform it.

“A lot of people have said it would look just ridiculous to have three red corners and grey which is so unbelievably bright it makes you squint when the sun is shining.”

Greg Merritt, West Sussex County Council’s principal community officer, said councillors would be involved in most of the decisions still to be made about the work in public areas in front of the station. Only technical matters would be decided by officers.

Outside the meeting, town councillor Tony Gardiner has joined the criticism of the plans.

Cllr Gardiner said he was unhappy at the prospect. Arun District Council has gained £1.65m from the government to spend on town-centre improvements.

Part of this work will extend the precinct’s much brighter grey paving, which is being laid along London Road, north to start outside the station.

But Cllr Gardiner (C, Marine) said the current paving should be retained.

“The people who want to do this are Philistines. They want to put something modern in place of something which matches the station. The current paving was only laid 20 years ago and there is nothing wrong with it.

“The station is an Edwardian building and we should be looking to enhance our focal points like that.”

Cllr Gardiner said he would be able to think of other uses to improve the town with the money to be spent on the paving.

n Nick Stuart-Nicholson, chairman and president of Bognor Regis Chamber of Commerce, asked councillors if they would replace the traffic light junction outside the station with a shared surface arrangement which linked it with the cinema and transform the area.

Mr Merrett said: “We will have to wait and see what resources are available.

“It is something which could be investigated subject to funds being available.”