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? UPDATE: He was employed by the University,
paid for by Arun, all a bit of a fiddle. But he left and was replaced by David Myers
who has no qualifications in regeneration at all. BackHome
£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.”
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.
UPDATE: After a long time, Rolls Royce acquired a site there for their parts department,
but no added benefits for the town. It is rumoured that Lidl will transfer to a site
there too. 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. It
wasn’t, no helpful staff, little information. UPDATE: The Observer office has closed
without a replacement, and Visitor Information is now a few leaflets in the Regis
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.
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