Arguments over new ideas for Bognor site

A WAR of words has erupted over the latest ideas to regenerate Bognor Regis.

The clash of comments stemmed from the three current ideas from developer St Modwen for the crucial Regis Centre site.

The seafront location is earmarked for a mixed use of leisure with a 4/5 screen multiplex, hotel, restaurants and an expanded Alexandra Theatre and about 80 flats.

St Modwen’s latest thoughts outlined to Arun District Council’s Bognor Regis regeneration sub-committee on Tuesday night centred on creating parking spaces.

The thoughts included building a semi-basement area about 1.2m deep with a broadwalk which links to the promenade.

One version had 300 spaces for residents and users of the attractions, another 225 and the third 262.

Cllr Francis Oppler (LD, Orchard) said none provided enough room for parking.

“This is an absolute mish-mash of ideas.

“People who will be buying these upmarket flats, costing £280,000-£300,000, will be looking for two spaces a flat.

“The only way to increase the spaces is to go up and we will have something that dwarfs Berkeley Court and surrounding properties.

“This has been struggling on with St Modwen for many years. We should go back to the market to get a better deal for Bognor.

“Don’t sell the town short. Let’s get something people really want.”

Cllr Roger Nash (L, Pevensey) said: “I believe there is a minimum requirement of 500 parking spaces. There will be less than half of that available with these ideas once the residents’ spaces are taken into account.

“It’s good that St Modwen are listening but there is still a lot of work to be done.”

But council leader Gllian Brown (C, Aldwick E) said: “I have never known such negative views as those from the last two speakers.

“We should work together rather than saying there are 158 reasons why this scheme will not work.

“Let’s be positive and get the best for Bognor. I don’t believe doing nothing is the right way to go ahead.

“St Modwen have listened to us but we are not at the end of the road yet.”

Cllr Jacqueline Maconachie (C, Aldwick W) said: “I fail to understand what Cllr Oppler has against the regeneration of Bognor.

“I get sick and tired, frankly, of people telling me what this town needs. I know very well what we need and we need regeneration.

“We need to do something about it in a positive manner, not keep shooting it down.”

Cllr Phil Hitchins (C, Aldwick W) said:“I’m really upset by this. We must get rid of this negativity. If people put their energies into developing Bognor, we would get there a lot quicker.”

Arun’s members will debate all the regeneration plans at a special full council meeting on November 6.