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THE KIOSKS DISASTER

It started out in 1996 as a good idea with good intentions, but it went disastrously wrong, largely through bad management.

Arun District Council thought it would be a good idea to place a few small, edwardian style retail kiosks in the London Road pedestrian area, the rent from which would pay for a town manager. They delegated the job to a sort of council/business quango specially set up for the purpose, and the quango employed a manager who was basically incompetent.

When the kiosks arrived they were neither edwardian, nor small. Painted in garish colours they were each about the size and shape of a lock-up garage, obscuring existing shop windows and blocking the precinct.  There was uproar from shopkeepers and public, and the manager did a bunk. Umpteen furious public meetings later Arun eventually agreed to remove them, but the legacy can still be seen in damage to the London Road paving.     Back

HOW MUCH ARE YOUR ARUN DISTRICT COUNCILLORS COSTING YOU?

Councillors’ allowances are pay, not expenses.  In addition to this pay they also receive an IT allowance (for their computers!), a mileage allowance, a travel and subsistence allowance, and some of them also receive a ‘special responsibility’ allowance. A few of them don’t take all their allowance or expenses, but most of them do.

Up to 31st March 2011 the total of all this was £421,580.86, with certain husband/wife Councillors handsomely supplementing their household income with their combined incomes from this source. Most notable of these were Council Leader Gillian Brown (£21,935.17) and her husband Robin (£14,356.68), totalling £36,291.85 to keep the home fires burning.

This is not the whole story though. Arun District Council’s Budget Book for 2011/12 shows the total budgeted figure for Councillors and all their associated support costs to be £766,000.

So this is what your Councillors are costing you, every year.  The big question is : is this good value for money, bearing in mind that not so long ago Councillors were pleased to do this without charge, happy to be privileged to serve their community?                                                                                                Back       Home

THE ASDA THAT ARUN REFUSED US HAS NOW BEEN BUILT AT FERRING

A huge regeneration and job-creation opportunity for Bognor Regis was lost when Arun District Council refused planning permission for ASDA at Oldlands Farm in 2008. The ASDA supermarket has now been built at the ‘Country Fayre’ site on the A259, near Ferring and still in the Arun District.  Bognor Regis people consider that this opportunity has been ‘stolen’ from them by Councillors from east of the river Arun and are furious that their town has apparently not been fairly treated by the Council.

The background is that in 2008 ASDA applied to Arun District Council for planning permission to build a large store on the Oldlands Farm site, which is just north-east of the ‘Halfords’ roundabout.  They also offered to provide the infrastructure for a light industrial area there, which would have provided jobs, and also committed to building a 10,000 sq.ft.office building, providing further jobs.

They did not want the LEC site because they believed the de-contamination work necessary there would be enormously expensive and this made it uneconomic for them.

Their application was widely supported by Bognor Regis people and all the major representative organisations including the Town Council, Civic Society and the Chamber of Commerce. It was felt that the ‘draw’ of ASDA would bring thousands of people to the Bognor Regis area and would be highly beneficial for regeneration.

It was clear, however, that Arun was not favourably disposed towards this, and in due course they refused the application, ignoring completely the clamour from Bognor Regis to approve it.

It is worth noting that of the Councillors on the Development Control Committee that voted to refuse it the vast majority were from east of the river Arun and had no connection with Bognor Regis - except for one, which was Councillor Jackie Maconachie of Bognor Regis.            Back      Home      

‘HELP PROTECT THE PICTUREDROME’ PETITION

10,868 SIGNATURES! – CONGRATULATIONS AND THANKS TO EVERYBODY FOR HELPING AND SIGNING

The Petition was presented to Arun District Council at their Full Council meeting on Wednesday 5th September, and because of the large number of signatures they were obliged to publicly debate their response to the Public’s request in due course.  For those unaware of the background to this, Arun and developers St. Modwen have let it be known that they wish to build a multiplex cinema on the Regis Centre site.  As has happened in other towns, many felt this would be a death knell to the Picturedrome and an end to bargain seat prices of £2.50 to see blockbuster films.  This petition asked Arun not to allow the construction of a cinema on any land they own or control in Bognor Regis while the Picturedrome remains in business.

Arun referred the matter to its Bognor Regis Regeneration Sub-Committee which, after three meetings voted to recommend rejection of the petition to Full Council, on the grounds that it would restrict competition and that it would fetter the Council in its future decisions.  The Committee refused to allow the Civic Society address its members in support of the petition, the Chairman saying: “I am afraid to let you speak.”

At full Council on 9th January the petition was duly rejected. An amendment was put that the Council should ‘note’ the petition, but this was lost. Another amendment was proposed that the matter should be returned to the Sub-Committee for further consideration because it had failed to gather any significant evidence, but this was also lost.

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