Arun District Council has responded to claims from town councillors and residents that it is ignoring them over redevelopment plans at the Sunken Gardens.
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At an electors meeting (Wednesday November 21) to object to plans for the Sunken Gardens to be regenerated — councillors criticised the handling of consultation by Arun District Council. The meeting was attended by 64 people, who voted in favour of the motions proposed by the town council to oppose plans put forward by the district council. 50 voted for, a with only two abstentions.
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A spokesman for the district council said: “In 2015, Arun District Council undertook public consultation regarding the regeneration of the two council-owned sites. More than 350 people visited the public exhibitions and 1,289 gave their views on what the proposals should include. On the Hothamton site, people wished to see restaurants, cafes, an outdoor performance area, arts centre, entertainment complex/public gardens, water features, a children’s play area and for parking numbers to be similar.
“Arun District Council commissioned designers to create concept plans that reflected the community’s wishes – and the yet to be named new park was proposed.
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“In 2018, councillors fully endorsed the proposals for a new landscaped park, then, in October last year, a well-attended public consultation exercise was carried out at the Alexandra Theatre in the town to hear the views of the public. About 120 people attended the event and more viewed the ideas online via the ADC website.
“The designs commissioned by Arun District Council will transform Hothamton car park into a tree-lined modern play and multi-use park, to suit all age groups. It will reinvigorate an existing greenspace delivering the greatest regeneration benefit to the town.
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“Subject to planning consent, the new park will include a number of features including items such as a water play and a natural play area, a performance area to host a rolling events programme, a central market square, and a café with seating both inside and outside.
“So it can be enjoyed after dusk the new park will be lit providing a pleasant environment extending its use and ensuring it fully accessible to all. Planting will be introduced into the park and car park setting; the car park is anticipated to be for around 200 vehicles. The western side of the car park will be marketed to developers for residential use.
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“Further engagement with the public is planned as the project details are worked on and as the proposals progress towards a planning application.
“Other council projects recently delivered in the town include the Beach on the Beach sand play area and the Play on the Beach play area, both of which have proved to be very popular with both local people and visitors alike.
‘”The District and Town Council have regular liaison meetings at which the progress of the new park is discussed.”