A step foward in regeneration plans for the Regis Centre site could see a hotel of up to six-storeys high take the place of the former fire station, according to a Bognor councillor.
The plans, discussed in private by Arun District Council last week, include proposals to develop the south-east corner of the Regis Centre site.
Councillor Francis Oppler said the plans included the demolition of the former fire station to build a hotel.
He said: “It’s the loss of yet another old building and there are existing voluntary organisations which work out of that building and also the impact of a hotel that could be up to six storeys high on the adjacent residential flats.”
He referred to the fact the Regis Centre site already has planning permission in principle for a six-storey building following a government ruling in favour of an appeal by Sir Richard Hotham last month, which is not backed by the district council as landowner of the site.
Mr Oppler also noted the council’s regeneration plans ‘raised a number of questions’ about the impact on the groups that used the town hall and Regis Centre.
Both Shopmobility and the Citizens Advice Bureau, which operate out of the town hall, have said they hope to remain in the town but will need to find alternative locations.
CEO at Arun and Chichester Citizens Advice, Lucan Badioli said the council had been told it needed to consider the organisation in its plans.
He said: “Obviously for us it’s a worrying time beause we don’t know where we’re going to be in two years’ time but Arun District Council have been very open and supportive.”
Manager of Shopmobility Marian Court said the charity brought business and visitors to spend in the town and the service was ‘really busy’ but the charity would not be able to afford commercial rates.
A spokesperson for Arun District Council said both organisations were ‘highly valued’ and the council had pledged to assist both, although ‘as the redevelopment project is in its early stages, we do not yet know what form this help will take.”