VIDEO: Residents turned away from crucial council meeting

HUNDREDS of people were barred from attending a crucial planning debate on the area’s future.

Residents clamoured to get into a meeting of all of Arun District Council’s members last night (Wednesday, January 8) but scores were left disappointed as they were turned away from the already packed meeting.

On the meeting’s agenda was councillors discussion of the local plan, a document that will set housebuilding across Arun for the next 15 years.

Jean Rogers, one of the protestors against a new A29 route for the Six Villages, was one of them.

She said on Facebook: “I am happy to report I called for a count and the number be reported to the council upstairs of those of us in attendance downstairs.

“I was told they had made a rough count. I was not satisfied as people were still arriving.

“We distributed paper for names and my count with the doors closed and members of the public turned away was 247.”

Terence Chapman, Arun’s chairman, told them five minutes before the meeting’s start: “It would be unsafe to allow any more people in upstairs.

“We are restricted by the fire certificate. This meeting will proceed tonight. I’m not prepared to cancel it.”

The public gallery in the second floor council chamber was packed to its capacity of some 150.

The council’s head of democratic services Liz Futcher said: “We can’t get any more people in the room.

“For safety reasons, we are only allowed a limited number and we have put out the number of chairs for that number. That’s why we can’t allow any more people in the room.”

For a full report on the meeting will be in next week’s Bognor Regis Observer out on Thursday, January 16.