Progress in bid to unite six councils

A BID to have one voice for Bognor Regis has taken a step forward.

At their meeting on Monday, members of Bognor Regis Town Council’s policy and resource committee agreed to support in principle the cost of a postal poll to find out what people would like a united council for the wider Bognor area.

Committee chairman Roger Nash said: “I would be happy to recommend in principle we earmark up to £2,500 for this, but Mr Cosgrove could do some more ground work in terms of going to other parishes.”

The committee’s vice-chairman Adam Cunard said the exercise must be done so it is recognised and acceptable to other councils.

This discussion came as a result of the annual town electors meeting where there was a vote in support of the idea.

The committee asked Jan Cosgrove, who has been running the One Bognor online survey, to brief them on the poll proposals.

He told members the online poll showed support from residents in all six urban parishes (Aldwick, Bersted, Bognor town, Felpham, Middleton and Pagham) for one town council, but the response was not large enough to make the case to Arun District Council.

The support ran at 79 per cent in favour.

Mr Cosgrove agreed he would approach the parishes to see if they would also contribute to the cost of the exercise.

Speaking after the meeting, Mr Cosgrove said: “It’s good to see the committee thinking beyond the current town council and parish councils to what the whole Bognor area needs in the future.

“It is clear to me people want a strong voice for Bognor Regis, and a new Bognor Regis District Town Council would provide a powerful basis for this.

“The postcard poll provides a cost-effective means of finding out whether local people support such a change – far cheaper at £2,500 than separate parish polls conducted at the polling stations where the cost would exceed £30,000 overall.

“It is a fact that in 1985 when the present parish system was set up, the maximum size of a parish was 25,000 in law.

“The people in our area deserve an opportunity to change to such a council if they want this.

“The postcard poll sets out to do just that.”