Arun opts out of meeting residents

ELECTORS in Bognor Regis have been denied the chance to hear directly about the town’s regeneration at their annual meeting.

Town mayor Eileen Anderson asked Arun District Council to attend the voters’ gathering in the Picturedrome cinema at 7pm on March 18.

But the district council refused to send anyone along.

Cllr Anderson said: “Arun has declined an invitation to attend the meeting. I’m rather disappointed by that.

“I know a lot of local people were looking forward to being able to get some answers from them about what is going on.

“We wanted Arun and we wanted the developers, St Modwen, as well.

“This is a very crucial time for the town.

“Hopefully, we are going to be moving forward and getting something done.

“We desperately need it. We are getting an awful lot of visitors and we have to offer them something when they come.

“But nothing is happening and people are fed up with the situation.

“It would have been good to have Arun there to hear their views.

“They could have answered their questions.

“But now the residents are going to have to hear the information from the town council third hand instead.

“That is not the same as getting the information directly.”

The meeting is also sure to feature the town council’s latest plans for the Picturedrome, which it 

Draft proposals have been drawn up to add two screens to the existing two to help counter the threat of a miniplex from St Modwen as the focal point to regenerate the Regis Centre site.

A spokeswoman for Arun said: “The chief executive of the district council, Nigel Lynn, was invited by a letter dated February 13, the day after the public question and answer session on the St Modwen regeneration proposals, to attend the Bognor Regis annual town meeting of electors on March 18 on the same subject.

“Mr Lynn is unable to attend the meeting as are other senior officers as this is the date of an 
important local plan briefing meeting.

“In his letter to the town council, Mr Lynn highlighted the extensive consultation on the St Modwen regeneration proposals and that on February 12 there had been an open question and answer session for the public to ask questions to West Sussex County Council, Arun District Council, St Modwen and the University of Chichester.”

He also sent data from the consultation and the report from dcinex on the Picturedrome.