Time to start all over again

YOU are six years too late, developer St Modwen has been told by a Bognor Regis business group.

Ian Harding, the vice-chairman of the town’s chamber of commerce, said the company should pack its bags instead of continuing to promote an outdated scheme to regenerate the town.

“I think we are being sold a pup on this,” he said.

“From what I have picked up, the new scheme from St Modwen is nothing at all to do with the original scheme which was chosen by the people of Bognor.

“That vote was made ahead of a number of different schemes.

“People chose St Modwen because of what was in that scheme.

“But, nearly six years later, practically nothing of the original scheme exists.

“I can’t understand why Arun District Council are still sticking with St Modwen.

“They should tell them to go away and go back to the market and start again.

“St Modwen have had their time. They should pack their bags and wander off,” said Mr Harding.

He complained the £100m investment in the town from the original version of St Modwen’s redevelopment of the Regis Centre and Hothamton sites had been reduced to less than £40m in the latest scheme.

“That is less than the original investment in the town,” he said.

“I really don’t think St Modwen should still be in the field.”

Mr Harding made his comments at the chamber’s executive committee meeting on Tuesday.

They came as St Modwen and Arun prepare to launch the first public consultation on the crucial regeneration schemes since January 2008. There have since been several changes.

Even more have taken place since St Modwen was chosen by residents ahead of five other rivals after an exhibition in the Regis Centre in 2006.

The developer has also benefited from deadlines being extended by the district council to enable work to continue in spite of the changed economic conditions. However, the controversial multiplex plan for the Regis Centre has remained.