After reading the piece in last week’s Bognor Regis Observer entitled ‘It’s a half-mast triumph’, I felt compelled to write to fully explain why Arun District Council did not apply for the Quality Coast Award in Bognor Regis this year.
We are proud the Blue Flag has been brought back to Bognor Regis and it is pity the article and headline appear to try to take something away from that great achievement.
The article put the blame on ‘penny-pinching’ but while we are of course trying to cut costs, the primary reason behind the decision not to apply for the Quality Coast Award was not financial.
The concept of the council applying for this award (which superseded the former Seaside Award) was to offer an alternative beach award for the Bognor Regis visitor resort when we were not actually eligible to apply for a Blue Flag Award.
When the council applied for the Quality Coast Awards in both towns in the past (2007 for Bognor Regis, and 2008 for Littlehampton) we were automatically tied into a three-year cycle, which in turn means we have to make a three-year commitment of annual payments.
As previously mentioned, the three-year cycle had expired for Bognor Regis in 2010. Therefore, after reviewing the awards and benefits available, we decided it was better to focus our attention specifically on the award that is more widely recognised nationally – The Blue Flag Award – as it is harder to achieve than the Quality Coast Award and has been considered to be a more prestigious achievement. Both awards are, however, a fantastic accolade.
This does not mean we will not be applying for a Quality Coast Award again in the future and this will be reviewed throughout the summer months.
Cllr Norman Dingemans,
Arun District Council’s cabinet member for economic and cultural development