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THE WEIRD FANTASY WORLD OF ARUN'S "CONSULTATIONS"

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

In the light of the above three bullet points, Bognor Regis residents cannot be blamed for failing to trust Arun District Council's consultations. Repeatedly, these consultations are carried out in a questionable manner, and the results obtained are often completely ignored. The question is asked: is this deliberate deceitfulness, or is it simply incompetence?

In 2013 Council Leader Gillian Brown was asked in Full Council why Arun was (at that time) proposing to go ahead with a Multiplex cinema based on the consultation views of just TEN people. This was the 'under 35s' section of their Wavelength panel whose views, Arun said, were important.  They had conveniently failed to mention the laughably small number of these consultees, but Bognor Regis Civic Society exposed the nonsense of it.

Important enough to reject a petition of over 2000 people?  Important enough to ignore Arun's own consultation results which showed an overall 26% majority vote of 2,631 people saying NO to the cinema proposal? This is the strange world of Arun's consultations. Arun blundered ahead regardless but, ultimately, the cinema proposal died a death for different reasons.

BUT WHAT ABOUT FLATS?

it's different with flats, because they really, really want them. Twice Arun has consulted the public, hoping to get the answer they wanted.  They didn’t.  In 2012 a clear 10% majority of 5,089 people said NO to flats on the Regis Centre and Hothamton sites.  And in 2015 they consulted 1,289 people and a massive 80% majority said NO FLATS on the Regis Centre site, and a 21% majority said NO FLATS on Hothamton.  This, by the way, underlined the 10,158 signature Civic Society Petition saying NO FLATS on the Regis Centre site, and the 900 Re-Invigoration Group consultation in which flats scored zero.

Did Arun listen to any of this?  No they did not.  They are still proposing flats for the Regis Centre site, and for the Hothamton site. Do they give a stuff for their June 2010 fine words (see above)? No they do not.

LINEAR PARK CONSULTATION TRICKERY

At Full Council on 10th January 2018, Tony Dixon asked Council Leader Mrs. Gillian Brown to explain how the Council's Linear Park proposals will contribute towards the regeneration of the town.  Her response was: "In our recent consultation on the proposals for the new park and parking areas at Hothamton there was overwhelming support from the public."

In a supplementary to that she confirmed: "The consultation was on the Linear Park."

That consultation was in October 2017.  Only about 200 people attended.  Only 19 people said they liked it. A later Freedom of Information request to Arun asked for Mrs. Brown’s evidence of "overwhelming support" and they were unable to provide it.

Challenged on this, Mrs. Brown later claimed she was referring to the 2015 Consultation.  The problem was that this was not "recent," was not about the Linear Park which hadn’t been invented at that point, and specifically excluded the Sunken Gardens area which the Linear Park was set to destroy. So no "overwhelming support" for the new park there either.

Ah, but that consultation "informed" the proposals, she claimed.  Really Mrs. Brown? And what about the residents' majority 39% view in that consultation that said NO FLATS on Hothamton? Did that "inform" your proposal to put 100 flats there?

And their 76% majority vote that there should be similar or more car parking spaces there?  Is that why you propose to REDUCE the number of spaces?

And their 63% majority vote that any improvements should be at no cost to the Council Tax payers? Is that why you are proposing to spend £4 million of taxpayers' money on it?

The truth is that Arun and Mrs. Brown rely on selective trickery and the public's inability to remember what has been said before, to manipulate, scam and ignore anything to suit themselves, regardless of what the public have said they would like (or not like) to see.

SO IN ALL THIS, HAVE THE PUBLIC BEEN ASKED WHETHER THEY WANT IT?

Well, not in the 2015 consultation, because it wasn’t even invented then. And not in the 2017 consultation either.  In answer to a public question from Cllr Matt Stanley, Mrs. Brown said: "This was not intended to be a choice on the park happening or not ‒ that decision had already been made"

But nobody has asked the public, Mrs. Brown, and isn’t it about time that you did?  In the same answer you said: "...a thorough consultation on the Linear Park proposals has taken place."

That is just another piece of trickery, Mrs. Brown, straight out of your fantasy world of "consultations."  We recommend you go back to reading the fine words in your 2010 Principles of Consultation document.  And start conducting some honest consultation for a change.

November 2018

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Arun's recently installed promenade toilet block and foreshore office.  Have they paid ANY attention at all to the 68% preference for traditional style buildings that emerged in their 2013 Seafront Survey?