On the naughty step

I RECEIVED a letter from Hugh Coster, deputy chairman of the Bognor Regis Civic Society, informing me that as a prospective Arun District Council candidate for Bognor Regis, I need to show my support for two hours’ free parking in the town, and that I should show my support by signing a pledge.

Failure to do this would place me in the ‘No Pledge Received’ category.

As a 45-year-old married man, with three children, I am used to dealing with such petty threats, though I must admit, I have never been threatened with the No Pledge Received corner before!

Quite why Hugh Coster deems himself fit to write to me I am not sure. Perhaps he thinks that as a new prospective Arun District councillor, I can be intimidated?

In all seriousness, the parking issue, for two hours’ free parking in Bognor Regis, is a genuine one.

Littlehampton already has it and has had for many years.

It seems though that most people in Bognor Regis may be unaware of the deal that Arun District Council has had with the Littlehampton Town Council and the local traders in Littlehampton.

Arun does contribute £29,000 towards the free parking, and this sum is matched by the town council, with the traders making up some £6,000.

Arun has put this deal forward to Bognor Regis Town Council and the Bognor Traders every single year since it was introduced in Littlehampton 14 years ago. The answer every time has been ‘No’.

So, where does Mr Coster think the money is going to come from?

Sainsbury’s has a £50m planning application submitted for a new store on the old LEC site. From this, there will be £500,000 to invest in projects for Bognor Regis.

The town council will have a large say in where this money is going to be spent. I suspect that two hours’ free parking will not be on their list of priorities.

Free parking will not provide any income but will be an expense, and will continue to be so each and every year it is in place.

So, in answer to Hugh Coster, by all means publish my name in the No Pledge Received column, and even give me my own ‘naughty boy’ link on your website. I’m sure your ‘considerable’ membership will be suitably impressed. But to the people of Bognor Regis I can say this, I do fully support the idea of free parking in the town – but only along the same lines that have applied in Littlehampton for the past 14 years.

David Edwards

Conservative Party Candidate

Arun District Council

Hotham Ward