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The problem is, after some seven years we still didn’t know exactly what they were. The broad elements were evident from the Masterplan produced for Arun by Consultants BDP in 2003, and a revised 2004 version can be seen by clicking here.  And for example,note particularly that on page 11 they say that the Regis Centre site could contain, among many other things, “optional residential development.” Optional, you’ll note, not compulsory.

Then, in May 2006, Arun held a public exhibition at which the three competing developers showed their concepts as to how the Regis Centre and Hothamton sites might be developed.  We were repeatedly told that these were only concepts, nothing was set in stone (was that a joke?) and that all we were doing was selecting a developer. St Modwen was ultimately selected, and their concept had shown the Regis Centre site to contain 168 flats in a nine storey building. Have a look at their proposals by clicking here. Lots of pretty pictures, but read it all very carefully.

You will note that the 168 flats and the nine storeys are not at all obvious and you have to look very carefully to find them. Still more so at the exhibition, it wasn’t on the plans and you had to ask the person manning the stand to find out.  Most of the public didn’t notice.  We noticed, and queried this massive building and all those flats.  “Don’t worry,” we were told, “these are only concepts, the eventual scheme could be completely different.  There’ll be lots more consultation to come.”

SO, WHAT DID THEY CHANGE?

Quite a lot, but what wasn’t changed?  The 168 flats in the nine storey building on the Regis Centre site.  Arun said they were a “given” in spite of all the other changes.  We had moved on a lot, it seems, from  the “optional residential development” in their Masterplan.  And they now claimed that everybody agreed to these when selecting St Modwen at the original exhibition, in spite of all their assurances - and the fact that they weren’t made obvious anyway.  So it would appear that this is “compulsory residential development” after all.

And the ”lots more consultation?”  Just one exhibition, in January2008, showing “concepts only” we were told - again.  Have a look at it, click here and, among the pretty pictures, note the changes - for example, the theatre ‘blob’ on the seafront has disappeared to - where? - and it’s become a ‘live performance venue’ which is not quite the same. Plus, the hotel is no longer in evidence, they plan to close the Esplanade, there’s something, er, unusual on the Place St. Maur that might be a restaurant, we seem to have lost certain bits of entertainment, and the Hothamton  site is completely different, with - wait for it - a 32 storey residential tower on the sunken garden.  Other changes too, but no change to the 168 flats...

AND NO FURTHER CONSULTATION SINCE THEN – UNTIL NOVEMBER 2013, THAT IS...

So what exactly is Arun District Council/St. Modwen proposing? - Apart from the 168 flats of course... Well, to continue the chronology, the infamous Credit Crunch intervened, the Library came under threat and we were blessed with one or two snippets of information. And we developed our ideas too – and then in 2013 things began to wake up.  To find out more, click on current position.

The 32 storey tower on the sunken garden - one of St. Modwen’s suggested designs, pictured right.  Compare the height, and other dimensions, with the existing Fitzleet tower block in the illustration.