VOTE: Asda in talks with council over land

Asda is in talks with council officers about the use of its land in Bognor Regis.

The retailer has been involved in discussions with Arun District Council to determine the future of the plot on Shripney Road.

The company bought the 8.3 hectares on Oldlands Farm when it was planning to build a 48,000sq ft store there along with 10,000sq ft of office space.

Despite the plans being rejected in December 2008, Asda has kept hold of the land and is now a key player in what happens there.

Gillian Brown, Arun’s leader, said: “Arun is discussing with them, and the other major landowner, about the feasibility of the site being brought into active use for high quality employment purposes, now that the relief road has started construction.”

One of the council’s reasons for refusing permission to Asda was its desire to see 11.2ha on the farm used for high paid and high skilled employment. An apology has been demanded for refusing Bognor Regis shoppers an Asda store.

Cllr Francis Oppler said Arun District Council’s leader, Gillian Brown, should say sorry to the town’s residents for the refusal of planning permission to the retailer.

He said: “In view of the intense depth of feeling, anger and resentment that the people of Bognor have got against this authority for opposing Asda, Cllr Mrs Brown should apologise to them for stopping Asda coming to the Oldlands Farm site.”

Cllr Brown rejected the call. She urged: “We should start looking forward and not keep looking back.

“Everyone is tired of the same old arguments. If you can’t accept something, move on.”

She said the Asda store had been rejected in December 2008 for proper planning reasons.

“Asda didn’t go to appeal against that decision because they realised they would not have won on that site. They had the opportunity to go to the Lec site.

“We have now got Sainsbury’s going there instead,” she said. “There’s going to be a £40m investment and 400 jobs.

“We also have a nice application from Morrisons for a store in Bognor. That’s another £20m investment and another 60 jobs,” she said.