Bognor Regis Herald — Regeneration leader urges planning appeal support for £80 million bid for Town

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Time is running out for residents to make their comments to the Government Inspector who will be deciding the appeal against Arun Council’s refusal to grant planning permission to the ambitious £89 million Regeneration proposal from the Sir Richard Hotham Project Ltd.

The appeal will be heard at the Town Hall, on 20th February, but the deadline for comments is 12th January.

Thomas Elliott, who is leading the bid, is confident that its merits will persuade the Inspector and says that it is vital for local people who want to see a real and effective regeneration to make their views known to the Inspector — contact details below.

Thomas Elliott (left) and SRH Team

Details of their proposals can be seen here at the Planning Portal of the Council whose Development Control Committee was advised by Arun’s Planning Officer to grant permission but who relied on a late-commissioned consultants report to reject on subjective grounds of planning design quality. Tom Elliott: “That simply is not credible, our Architect won three awards for the Esplanade Grande block of flats in exactly the same ‘Edwardian’ style as we will use for the Regis Centre and Hothamton developments, the latter which will bring an iconic £26 million theatre/conference centre to this town, a new cultural and business focus.”

THE SIR RICHARD HOTHAM PROJECT WEB SITE

Award-winning Esplanade Grande on Bognor’s Esplanade

Meanwhile, Town Councillor Jan Cosgrove has submitted a significant comment to the Appeal, stating his concerns that Arun Council has signally failed to distinguish its separate roles re the sites as Local Authority, Planning Authority, Landowner and rival Developer. “Arun’s own records show that it wanted to discourage other developers and wanted to be the developer itself, citing income from building flats to recoup losses of government grant income as a major reason. It has several conflicts of interest and it’s also a fact they have no money for their rival, less ambitious scheme. Because Arun has failed so badly in keeping these issues separate, I feel strongly they have failed to put the Town’s best interests and their duty to get best value first. It’s a bad show when the Council chases off others so it can push its own agenda not Bognor’s best interests.

Tom Elliott: “Arun’s own planning officer has told its Councillors her professional view that this scheme offers Bognor Regis an ambitious prospect, and I can say that our funders, with whom I am in regular contact, are very keen we should proceed.” Time scale? “The planning officer proposed a start within three years, and we would be mustard keen to do just that!”

Jan: “If and, in my view, when this Appeal succeeds, Arun must talk urgently as landowner with Tom and his team at Sir Richard Hotham, Indeed, I think it would be really sensible for both parties to talk NOW in Bognor’s best interest, and Tom Elliott has told me all along he would like nothing better.”

Read Jan’s submission to the Appeal here

To make comments to the Appeal via the Planning Inspectorate, final date 12th January:

Email: east1@pins.gsi.gov.uk quoting ref APP/C3810/W/17/3178817

Post/Contact: Planning Inspectorate

Former Edwardian features of Bognor Regis

Rex Ballroom/ Kursaal Theatre, on current Regis Centre site
Pavilion, where Hothamton car park now is
Proposed 1100 seater theatre, same site

Read more at: Bognor Pavilion — a landmark that can’t be forgotten

Kursaal/Theatre Royal Cinema

Hawkwind at Rex Ballroom, Bognor Regis, England 1972

Slade at Rex Ballroom, Bognor Regis, England 1971

Here is a suggested letter for the Planning Inspector:

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Jan Cosgrove

National Secretary of Fair Play for Children, Also runs Bognor Regis Herald online. Plus runs British Music Radio online