Calls for new firm to redevelop town


CALLS have been made for a developer to be ditched from regenerating Bognor Regis.

Two councillors have said St Modwen has been given enough time to get on with the multi-million pound work.

Cllr Francis Oppler (LD, Orchard) said the latest delay for two months in discussing any proposal from the company made the situation a farce.

It is eight years since Arun District Council linked with St Modwen but progress has yet to be made.

He called for the council’s leader, Gillian Brown, to start the search for a new developer.

“What an abject failure this has been,” he told last Wednesday’s full council meeting.

“Last November, we gave St Modwen a 12-month extension which clearly stated in the recommendation we would have a report in the early part of 2014. We are now talking about June.

“In nearly eight years, we have had nothing concrete from St Modwen. The issues are still unresolved over car parking. We are going absolutely nowhere.”

Cllr Jim Brooks (I, Marine) said St Modwen failed to deliver important parts of its initial plans such as sand on the beach, an iconic seafront building and a lido.

The value of the scheme had also slumped by millions of pounds to £25-40m.

“This can’t possibly be value for money,” he said. “We definitely need some sort of plans to come forward. All they seem to be doing is sitting back and waiting until they make a nice profit out of the site.

“It’s absolutely outrageous. They have let us down at every stage and this council should be much stronger in making sure they come up with proposals or get out of it for good.”

Cllr Brown said she and Arun’s chief executive, Nigel Lynn, had met St Modwen’s regional director, Tim Seddon, on April 17.

“He assured us of St Modwen’s continued commitment to the scheme,” she said, adding the cinema and other tenants for the new-look Regis Centre site, and the supermarket for Hothamton, were lined up.