New Lib Dem challenges leader over Bognor regeneration

An artist's impression of what the Hothamton car park site could look like as a linear park SUS-170228-104442001
An artist's impression of what the Hothamton car park site could look like as a linear park SUS-170228-104442001

Arun District Council leader Gill Brown has repeated her insistence regeneration plans for Bognor’s Hothamton car park had ‘overwhelming’ support – but could not produce figures to support her claim.

The Conservative councillor was challenged by newly-elected Marine ward Liberal Democrat Matt Stanley at his first full council meeting on Wednesday (March 7).

Mr Stanley argued his election success last month – the second consecutive Lib Dem by-election victory in the town – demonstrated the ‘strength of public opinion’ against the council’s plans to turn Hothamton into a linear park.

Asked what was planned to demonstrate concerns had been taken on board, Mrs Brown said: “I am sure we will agree one, maybe two, swallows don’t make a summer and the electorate determine who they should vote for on the basis of a whole range of issues, some local and some national.”

The leader said the linear park had gained support of the ‘overwhelming majority’ following consultation in October.

But Mr Stanley hit back, asking if she knew how many residents constituted ‘overwhelming’.

Prior to his election he spoke at a hustings event of the low number of responses and questioned how the council could claim strong support from the consultation event alone.

Mrs Brown said: “Off the top of my head, no I don’t. I did attend the consultation myself and there were a lot of people there.

“I haven’t got the figures but they are minuted.”

An Arun District Council spokesman has been contacted to confirm the exact consultation figures.