Backing for £3.5m Hothamton plan amid criticism of council’s concept

An artist's impression of what the Hothamton car park site could look like as a linear park SUS-170228-104442001
An artist's impression of what the Hothamton car park site could look like as a linear park SUS-170228-104442001

A £3.5million redevelopment of a Bognor Regis car park has taken a step forward after councillors voted to progress plans.

Arun District Council’s vision to transform the Hothamton car park into a linear park – a long green space flanked on either side by replacement parking – was backed by full council on Wednesday.

Work on the detailed designs, funding bids and a planning application will now be prepared.

The vision was approved despite concerns from opposition councillors, while Bognor Regis Civic Society has since criticised the decision.

Arun leader Gill Brown said: “This attractive new park will transform the current car park and it will be packed with varied and exciting play and leisure facilities including a water play facility.

“This is a positive step in the regeneration process and by delivering the park ourselves, we can ensure that the finished result meets the high-quality specification we are seeking. “

The concept includes raised grass and planting areas, play area, central market square, café and apartments. The council backed option two put forward by consultants – a proposal which included fewer water-based features than the costlier alternative.

But civic society deputy chairman Hugh Coster believed the plans would see up to 36 per cent of the existing green space and as many as 76 car parking spaces.

He said every councillor had been contacted by Henry Stamp, a retired planning officer, with a 19 point document detailing the shortcomings of the scheme.

The society is also worried the emergency access road for Fitzleet Tower could be annexed.

Mr Coster said: “There are many other dangers in this scheme, notably to children, but almost no questions were asked and no answers given.

“The whole thing was just nodded through, with more than £3.5million of council taxpayers’ money to be spent to gain almost no benefit for the town at all.”

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