Time to go it alone

I am writing in support of the comments made in the Observer by Nick Stuart-Nicolson with regards the regeneration of Bognor Regis – or rather, the lack of it.

I did not think any of his comments were outspoken, and surely must echo the frustration many of us residents feel.

I am pleased someone has voiced what I have been thinking for ages – I, too, am far from convinced any regeneration is going to take place.

The town is run down, shabby and does not offer a good shopping experience.

Every time we lose a major chain store we end up with just another of these cheap shops selling bargain goods.

We lost Woolworths to Wilkos and we have a Poundstretcher where Millets used to be, but there is little variety. Just how many more ‘cheap’ shops do we need?

This means I usually end up doing most of my purchasing online or end up in Chichester to buy the things I want.

Bognor offers very little and seems to be going backwards.

Day by day, we see more shops and businesses close down, not to mention the restaurants, many of whom can barely survive as it is.

When my husband and I went out the day after Valentine’s Day, we were pretty shocked to discover our favourite Thai restaurant along the seafront was closed.

So we drove around empty streets looking for an alternative – but the place felt like a ghost town.

The town has a beautiful seafront – but yet again, I notice the debate of moving the Tourist Information Centre has reared its ugly head again.

Oh no, not that old chestnut!

I was at the meeting a few years ago where it became more than obvious that Arun District Council would really like to sell off all our town’s assets if they could get away with it. My view is that a seaside town needs a prominent Tourist Information Centre.

I guessed when we were all promised regeneration it would never happen.

It raised our hopes for a little while, but they just ended up stalling, a common tactic used by politicians when they don’t want you to have something.

I have sat in meetings with Arun District Council and the Chamber of Commerce in my time, but it is a waste of time – good ideas come out of the meetings but nothing ever actually gets done.

All we have seen of Bognor regeneration are a few billboards posted up outside the old Lec site – but it does little to disguise rusty chicken wire fencing, surrounding a decaying building with broken windows.

What sort of impression does that give?

Why would any business want to invest in a place which suffers such obvious neglect?

I also wonder if Bognor will even see a penny of the half-a-million pounds pledged by Sainsbury’s, either.

Or will we be expected to just forget all about that, too – same as the promise of regeneration?

Sorry this all sounds like a lot of doom and gloom, but what else is there to say?

We’ve been badly let down by ADC for years.

So if I was to end this letter with a wish, it would be for Bognor to have its own council, its own budget and manage its own affairs.

Arun District Council take our taxes but give us back very little in return.

It has come clear to me, in the past 14 years I have lived here, that they care very little about our town and we need to take matters into our own hands now.

Helen Christmas

Fish Lane

Aldwick

Bognor Regis