Way forward for Bognor’s theatre is discussed

A MEETING to end an impasse between the town’s theatre and council has been suggested.

Disagreements between Bognor Regis Town Council and Arun Arts –the charity which runs the Regis Centre – over who should be the theatre’s council representative prompted the call for action.

Cllr Roger Nash made the suggestion, at Monday’s meeting (October 15) of Bognor Regis Town Council’s policy and resource committee.

“I propose a way forward would be to reiterate to the theatre that the council representative must be someone appointed democratically by the council, in this case Cllr Mrs Warr.

“We must also reiterate our principle that a council representative cannot have a duel role as a trustee of an organisation and a council representative.

“I then suggest we hold an informal meeting between councillors and the theatre to see if we can thrash through some of the issues. The theatre is an important part of this community and we need to find a way forward. We need to seek to end this impasse.”

Fellow committee member, and deputy town mayor, Cllr Paul Wells agreed.

“I agree arranging a meeting would be a good way forward,” he said.

“The situation we have found ourselves in is extremely unfortunate.

“The fact is, the theatre is a hub for the community in terms of entertainment and, as a council, we have always supported it. We have to now find a way to move forward for the good of the whole town.”

Arun Arts sent a letter to the town council asking Cllr Pat Dillon, who volunteers at the Belmont street theatre and is a trustee, be appointed as the council’s representative.

Committee members felt this would not be possible as it may be a conflict of interest.

Former councillor and friend of the Regis Centre, Ken Scutt used the meeting’s public session to make his views known.

“I have come here to support Cllr Pat Dillion in my position as a friend of the Regis Centre. Cllr Dillon works so hard for the theatre with his voluntary work,” he said.

“I would think he would be an ideal person to act as the council’s representative for the Regis Centre. He has commitment and he is of the upmost integrity. I cannot see how he would be compromised in any way.”

The committee voted four to three in favour of arranging the gathering and reinforcing that Cllr Jeanette Warr would be their representative.

Councillors also decided a representative must be appointed when organisations receive a grant of £5,000 or more.