A petition seeking to free Bognor Regis from the control of Arun District Council has attracted hundreds of signatures.
Campaigners battling for the town’s independence from Arun were out in force collecting signatures from residents on Saturday (September 22).
The petition, which has so far been signed by more than 600 people, demands more say for townsfolk on local matters and calls on the district council to reorganise its decision-making process.
It also asserts all important decisions regarding the town’s future should be made only by Bognor councillors.
Bognor resident Caroline Wilson, who is spearheading the campaign, was one of the many present in the town centre rallying support.
Caroline said: “This is just the start of a process to obtain more independence for our wonderful town. We were overwhelmed with people giving their support and at one point we had people queuing up to sign the petition.
“People really are not happy with Arun District Council.
“We are also in the process of lobbying central government regarding reorganisation of local governance for this area so we can get rid of Arun altogether,” she added.
Town-centre resident Mary Scott said: “I do agree with some of the ideas being put forward for Bognor to have a bit more freedom from the district council.
“I just hope it is done in the right way.
“I applaud the group of campaigners for their guts in starting the petition, I just hope they have considered all the implications.
“Legally it will be a very difficult thing to do and if it happened, the sheer work involved in the day-to-day running of the town would be immense,” added the 75-year-old.
Mother-of-three Nina Conners said she hoped the campaign wouldn’t prove to be short sighted.
“I have lived in this town for my whole life, I fully support the campaigners in their quest to make Bognor Regis a better place, but would they not be better off trying to work with Arun?
“It would be sad to see the town suffer,” said the 32-year-old.
The petition follows Caroline’s launch of the Facebook group, ‘Fight the Good Fight – Get Out of Arun’ some two weeks ago.
The group, which Caroline says is growing daily, now has more than 3,200 members.
A Twitter account has also been set up by campaigners and badges and banners are being produced.
A similar Facebook page has been set up by protesters from the neighbouring town of Littlehampton, campaigning for the same independence.
To meet legal requirements the petition can only be submitted when it has been signed by a certain number of local government electors.
The exact figure depends on the size of the electorate of the area to be reviewed.
But an area with more than 2,500 local electors means it must be signed by at least ten per cent of those registered to vote.
Once a valid petition has the required number of signatures, it can be submitted for a review process, which takes at least a year.