Here, at Bognor Regis Civic Society, we provide the only open forum in the area where
anybody can attend and highlight any local issue which needs attention. It’s a public
meeting, so everybody gets the chance to speak, and your concerns can be debated
and, if felt necessary, taken further with the backing of the Society and all its
members. The local press usually attends, which usually means coverage of newsworthy
items, and it’s surprising how feedback from various sources shows this attracts
the attention of those who wish to get (or stay) elected.
Also, at most meetings we have at least one speaker on issues of local importance,
often a Council Officer or Cabinet member and everybody at the meeting has plenty
of opportunity to ask questions or make observations to that person. We are delighted
that local Councillors frequently attend and we welcome their input and views. It
did not go unnoticed a few years ago that when a long established Councillor was
invited and decided not to attend he lost his seat at the next election. And then,
at the WSCC elections in 2013 it happened again to two more. Even in these days
of electronic communications, people like to meet their Councillors face to face,
and those who ignore this do so at their peril...
But we do, of course, ensure that although debate might be vigorous on contentious
issues, everybody is always polite and well behaved. In fact we are proud that in
more than ten years of (sometimes) energetic debate there has never been any bad
behaviour. That said, we do have a reputation for requiring those in authority to
give proper answers to questions; politician-style non-answers are never acceptable,
and we usually - politely - get to the truth!
The problem that many people face is this: What do you do if you perceive that something
needs putting right about your town? Write a letter to the local paper? That’s
fine if it gets published - but even if it does, how many people read it? And the
next thing you know is next week’s paper is out and the thing’s history.
Perhaps you could ask a question at the next Council meeting - if they allow you.
And you might even get an answer before they pass on to other matters. But councillors’
answers are not noted for clarity, and anyway, will anything get done? Unfortunately,
probably not, and so your opportunities for getting things put right are pretty slim.
...and join in at our next meeting, there’s no charge. Everybody’s welcome, you
don’t have to join the Society, although of course we’d like you to. Have your say
or just sit and listen if you like, everybody’s very friendly. Meetings take place
in the spacious Studio Room at the Regis Centre, 7.30 pm on the second Friday of
every month except December. See you there!
“...local Councillors frequently attend....it did not go unnoticed that when a long
established Councillor was invited and decided not to attend he lost his seat at
the next election...”
“Here we provide the only open forum in the area where anybody can attend and highlight
any local issue which needs attention. ...feedback...shows this attracts the attention
of those who wish to get (or stay) elected”