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ARUN’S FORMER REGENERATION CHIEF WHO ADMITTED HE KNEW NOTHING ABOUT REGENERATION - WHERE IS HE NOW?

Richard McMann, former chief of Arun’s Bognor Regis Regeneration Task Force publicly admitted in a business magazine “I haven’t got a clue what regeneration is.?He also said that regeneration for Bognor Regis is not something he personally could deliver - and retired from Arun in March this year.

So where is he working now? Arun is very tight-lipped about this, but it seems there is a mysterious and un-named “Regeneration Advisor? running the equally mysterious and secretive Regeneration Board - for who? Arun? The University? Butlins? And who is paying this mystery McMann - er, sorry, man?  We’re looking into it... Back   Home

£30,000 TO BE SPENT ON KEEPING ENTERPRISE ZONE IDEA ALIVE

Arun District Council is planning to spend £30,000 in an effort to pursue the idea of the failed Enterprise Zone bid earlier this year.  The money will come from the New Homes Bonus, which is paid to Arun by the government and related to the number of new homes being built in the district.

It will be spent on a review to find out how to introduce a local version of the national Enterprise Zone scheme run by the government and which brings advantages to businesses within the zone, including easier planning and reduced business rates.  Arun’s Senior Economic Development Officer Anthony Everitt said: “the review will show how realistic it is to set up a local enterprise zone.?/span>

The review will report to a working group whose initial members will be Mr. Everitt and Karl Roberts (Planning Officer) for the Council, Richard McMann (Bognor Regis Regeneration Board), Clare Chester (West Sussex County Council), David Cooper (University of Chichester) and will be chaired by Caroline Wood of Coastal West Sussex.

Hugh Coster (CiViC Deputy Chairman) commented; “Of course it is desirable and good that the Council are seeking to stimulate industry and jobs in this area, but this is the wrong way to go about it.  Firstly, they haven’t a hope of providing anything like the stimulus offered by the official Enterprise Zone scheme because they haven’t the legal status to underwrite it - so it has little chance of success.  Secondly, where is this money going? Probably to consultants to produce a report to this bunch of council officers and other unelected people who represent nobody.  What should be happening is that these officers, who are already being paid by us, should be doing the research work and reporting to our elected Councillors, who are the people empowered to make the decisions.  So the work can be done without spending the £30,000 which could be better spent on something else.?                                                                                                               Back

ARUN CONSIDERING COMPULSORY PURCHASE OF FARMLAND

Top members of Arun District Council have agreed to consider a report into the possibility of compulsorily purchasing 23ha of farmland at Oldlands Farm in Bersted.  The intention is that they can give themselves planning permission and then sell or lease the land for businesses and jobs.

In 2008 Arun refused planning permission to ASDA for this site when they wished to provide a store, similar to the currently planned Sainsbury’s a short distance to the south, plus a 10,000 sq.ft. office block, plus the infrastructure for a business park similar to Arun’s current intentions. Had that been approved, the store and all the other facilities would probably be in place now.

Following this refusal Arun persistently claimed to be in positive and productive talks with the landowners to ensure that the business park would not be lost to the Town.  Now, it appears that all of this was wasted  time, since there still appears to be no prospect of the business park.

And it further appears that if the business park is to happen at all the Council Taxpayer will have to foot the bill by buying the land, with no clear idea as to whether the investment will be worthwhile.                Back

BOGNOR’S VISITOR INFORMATION CENTRE RE-BORN?

Bognor Regis Observer newspaper has taken over the old Visitor Information Centre premises at Place St. Maur after vacating its old premises in Station Road.  In partnership with Arun District Council, part of the offices are devoted to a ‘VIC Lite?which is Arun parlance for a reduced service involving leaflet stands and computer terminals.  Arun claims that this is as good as the old service where there were expert staff on hand to assist with bookings as well as providing friendly help and advice.  Many Bognor Regis folk are unconvinced of this, and wonder what on earth is the use of a VIC that is not open on Saturdays, Sundays or Bank Holidays when the visitors come... Back

CIVIC SOCIETIES LINK TO ESTABLISH ARUN DIVIDE

Because of public concern throughout the Arun District that the Council’s decision-making process is flawed, Bognor Regis and Littlehampton Civic Societies have formed an alliance to press for improvements to the system.

Particular concern has been expressed that Councillors from areas far distant from  the one under discussion, particularly in planning and regeneration issues, have little knowledge of the subject under discussion and little connection with the constituents of that area.  This has led to controversial decisions and to suggestions that funds are being unfairly distributed.

The two societies will be jointly pressing for an east-west divide in certain committees, particularly planning, as is practised in other geographically challenged councils.  It is anticipated that the River Arun would be the boundary between the two areas.                                                                                 Back

FREE PARKING IS HERE AT LAST!

YES!  AFTER ALL THE STRUGGLE SINCE September 2010, 2 hour free parking finally came to  Bognor Regis.  It started on 1st December 2011, and anyone with the correct free parking disc can park for 2 hours free of charge in the Fitzleet multi-storey and Lyon Street car parks.

THIS IS A GREAT VICTORY FOR PEOPLE POWER although there is much more to be done yet.  It took a 5,807 signature petition, an election and the combined efforts of the Civic Society and the major Bognor Regis representative bodies to make it happen - and it shows what we can do when we work together.

BUT HOW AND WHERE DO YOU GET A FREE PARKING DISC, and where are the car parks to use them?  Click on Free Parking is Here! for more information.                                                                   Back