Residents of Bognor Regis packed a crucial meeting about the future of the Picturedrome cinema.
One of the 50 residents who attended in the council chamber, Roger Nash, told councillors: “Some of you are on the brink of making a pretty calamitous decision tonight which is going to impact on the town for many years to come.”
The public would be gobsmacked the council could ignore two surveys, one with 1,860 responses, which both showed some 94 per cent support for the extra screen, he said.
“The Picturedrome extension would be our contribution to regeneration no matter what Arun District Council decided.
“They have listened to the public and dropped the multiplex on the seafront.
“How is the town council going to look if it ignores the express wishes of many hundreds of people?”
Fellow former town councillor Kim Davis said she had lacked the full facts when she backed the fourth screen last March.
“I might have changed my mind if I had all the facts before me,” she said. She claimed the council had not shown complete financial transparency.
Another ex-town councillor, quantity surveyor Simon Fyfe questioned the £111,000 the council had spent on the project so far to take the total cost, if the new screen went ahead, to more than £900,000.
“Has the council gone through a competitive tendering process? What about the tendering for a contractor to build a single storey extension for 113 people for £850,000? Quite frankly, it’s disgraceful.”
Peter Cooper, the council’s advisor, said it had used a procedure called partial design and build to find a contractor, Cheesemuir.
“This is a new process but it is recommended by the government on the trials they have done,” he said.
Bognor Regis residents will get the chance to cast their vote on the fate of the planned fourth screen next Tuesday.
An electors’ meeting is being held on Tuesday, September 15, ay the Regis Centre at 7pm.
The votes will go towards determining if the 113-seat auditorium for the Picturedrome goes ahead.
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