In reality, the position is - nowhere much. Because of the credit crunch/recession
St. Modwen were not in a position to proceed, so in 2009 Arun District Council agreed
to place the Development Agreement in ‘suspended animation’ until 2012, subject to
six-monthly review. And that’s where it remained until the end of that year.
Bognor Regis Civic Society has repeatedly said that that period was an ideal opportunity
for extensive consultation. A major company like St. Modwen has the resources to
produce a wide range of ideas and illustrations so that the public can express their
views on what they do and don’t like. A consensus could be arrived at, and when
the financial situation allows we could hit the ground running with no wasted time.
We called for Arun to hold a series of public debates on the various aspects of
regeneration in order to commence this process.
Arun refused to do this. St. Modwen claimed they were revising their plans and would
show them in due course, but there was no indication as to when this would be. All
we knew is they said they were abandoning the 32 storey tower. But did that mean
no tower? Or a 31 storey tower? – No information. So, in essence, the whole process
appeared to be completely stalled.
Meanwhile, Arun continued to claim that the town was being regenerated because Butlins
had built their new hotels, the University was expanding, the Community College was
rebuilding, some new flats had been built on the seafront and Sainsbury’s was coming.
Sorry Arun, you’ve missed the point. That was fine, but it was just various organisations
developing their businesses, not regeneration. If you’re in doubt, Arun District
Council, (and you clearly are because Richard McMann has publicly admitted that he
hasn’t a clue what regeneration is!) please click here and read again the true meaning
Arun are determined to build large numbers of flats in an enormous block on the Regis
Arun doesn’t admit it but seemed intent on moving the Public Library - but to where?
Arun/WSCC are considering closing the Esplanade, but there is no viable alternative
Arun/WSCC have no viable access or parking strategy to allow for increased visitors.
Arun’s proposals have nothing that will attract significant numbers of new people
(and money) to the town on a repeat basis and will therefore do nothing for regeneration.
Arun seems to think building over a thousand more houses without significant numbers
of new jobs is regeneration, when that is all that has been happening over past decades
while the town has been declining. Why should more of the same change anything?
Arun will not come out into the open and debate these issues in public.
Our Regis Centre site proposal has been developed further. We wish to see an iconically
attractive building with lots of glass to provide an exciting and interesting all-weather,
all-year round attraction for all ages of residents and visitors alike. We have
particular special attractions in mind, not available anywhere nearby, and the building
will also contain an improved theatre, bowling, skating, shops, restaurants, cafes,
exhibition and performance areas for art/street theatre/music etc.,children’s play
areas, sea view/coffee balconies and much more besides.
We believe this will provide an attraction, particularly with the special attractions
we envisage, that will bring large numbers of new visitors to the town from a wide
radius on a repeat basis, and will also provide a powerful local focus which will
be especially popular with young people. This will serve to bring new money into
the town, and new and better shops will automatically follow the new money, as has
been repeatedly seen elsewhere.
WHAT HAPPENS NEXT?
We are currently working on the plans, illustrations and publicity material for this
proposal, and as soon as these are ready we will be presenting our ideas to the public
and Councils so that we may receive feedback and comment.
And while this is going on, Bognor Regis Civic Society, together with the Chamber
of Commerce and The Business Interchange is calling for Arun District Council to
introduce a free parking scheme in the town for residents and shoppers as an immediate
move to kick-start regeneration. Find out more about this by clicking on free parking.
FAST FORWARD TO 2018 – ST. MODWEN ARE LONG GONE! ARUN COMES UP WITH NEW PLANS!