OPPONENTS outnumber supporters of a multiplex in Bognor Regis.
Two out of three surveys into the potential arrival of the 4/5 screen venue show majorities against it.
The public online and paper survey showed 54 per cent opposed to the multiplex on the Regis Centre site and 39 per cent in support. A face-to-face survey revealed 48 per cent in opposition and 44 per cent support.
Only the Wavelength panel, which takes into account all the Arun district, came out in favour – 58 per cent to 29 per cent.
The pattern was repeated for other aspects of the £40m scheme put forward by St Modwen.
The results will be debated by the council’s Bognor Regis regeneration subcommittee next Tuesday (February 26). It is open to the public but they are not allowed to speak. The public can speak when the item is discussed on March 20 at Arun’s full council meeting.
Hugh Coster, Bognor Regis Civic Society’s deputy chairman, called for the council to engage in a public debate about the matters.
“The results of the surveys show conclusively Arun has no mandate for the multiplex, no mandate for the 80-bedroom hotel, no mandate for the Regis Centre site flats and no mandate for the 200 Hothamton flats,” he said.
The Wavelength panel’s views could be dismissed, he said, because six out of ten of them admitted they seldom or never visited Bognor.
“It is imperative the district council must put the whole thing on hold, come out of hiding behind all their restrictive procedures and openly and honestly debate every aspect of this with the public at a proper open meeting,” he said. “This will enable them to explain all the other anomalies and peculiarities about their consultation reports.”
Among the questionable aspects was a statement by one of the survey companies that older people were more likely to be sceptical to proposals because they were more easily led. The surveys show more people were against the idea of some 80 seafront apartments than in favour.
The public, sample and Wavelength results against were 43 per cent, 42 per cent and 26 per cent respectively. In support, were 40, 42 and 44 per cent.
Arun’s leader Gillian Brown said they had fully engaged with the community through a high-profile public consultation exercise.
She said: “The council has already this month held a widely promoted public question and answer session on the regeneration of the town at the University of Chichester’s Bognor Regis campus.
“The public has had a very wide range of opportunities, over an extended time frame, to be actively involved in informing the democratic process and their views will be accurately reported to members so elected councillors can make an informed decision.”
WHAT DO YOU THINK?
Can Bognor sustain a multiplex cinema as well as the Picturedrome? Have your say in the voting panel to the right and leave your comments below.