LETTER: Civic Society has a positive impact

LIKE Peter Walker, I laughed when I read Stan Jonas’ criticisms of me, and I laughed still more when I read his own ill-informed diatribe.

He might like to learn I was born in Bognor Regis 69 years ago and have grown up, lived in and loved the area ever since.

He might also learn that I have indeed been elected and served as a councillor, and as a result of that and long local experience have learned a very great deal about the town and its people.

And he might also learn that the Civic Society has always been proactive, particularly in being the first group to positively create a modern masterplan for the holistic regeneration of eight sites in the town back in 2000, something which Arun tried hard to ignore.

But eventually adopted in much watered down form after spending £50,000 of taxpayers’ money on consultants.

And he might also learn that without the proactive and positive impetus of the civic society the town would never have got the two-hour free parking scheme, in spite of the ‘No’ attitude from Arun District Council, a petition and an election.

Another thing he might learn is that our proposals for the Regis Centre site envision attractively iconic buildings reflecting the town’s heritage with all-year-round, all-weather leisure facilities for residents and visitors alike.

But before we do all that we have to thoroughly clean, paint, repair and restore the town which has been allowed to become appallingly scruffy.

However, we make no apologies for arranging a hustings meeting so that residents can publicly question local election candidates and hear what they have to say to other people’s questions.

As to my own political leanings, I will be as political as I choose. CiViC itself has political neutrality built into its constitution, but I am not CiViC - that is run by a committee and its members, I am not even its chairman.

But Mr Walker’s touching naivety in assuming that whoever is in power at Arun DC will do the very best for the town, ignores the ominous fact that the recent ruling administration wanted a multiplex on the seafront, potentially destroying the Picturedrome, plus hundreds more flats in the town.

That intention has never been withdrawn, even though St Modwen may have faded into the background.

People in the town recognised the stupidity of those plans by signing petitions of 10,000 or more, but Mr Walker seems to be happy to let such things happen.

Be careful Mr Walker, a multiplex and hundreds of flats may yet be exactly what you will get.

Hugh Coster

Deputy chairman

Bognor Regis Civic Society