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SECRET ARUN PLANS TO BUILD 15 STOREY TOWER BLOCK FOR STUDENTS AT HOTHAMTON?

When Arun District Council Chief Executive Nigel Lynn attended the Bognor Regis Civic Society meeting in February of this year he was asked a number of questions by the public in connection with the regeneration of the town.

Minutes of the meeting show that he made it clear that there were no specific plans or proposals for the Regis Centre or Hothamton sites to tell them about.  He said that there was nothing on paper, no emails or "anything with any proposals."

Arun confidential documents later emerged, dated some two months before he made these statements, showing detailed development scenarios for both sites and that clear plans were already being made.

In particular, they showed an intention to build a tower block on the Hothamton site "extending to over 15 storeys high" in order to accommodate students from Chichester University.  Also it was envisaged that in the summer this block could be used to house Butlins' staff.

They also showed that Tesco had already prepared plans for a supermarket on the site, and were in discussion on this with St. Modwen and their representatives.

Also revealed in these secret documents were different scenarios for the Regis Centre site, all involving the construction of at least one block of flats and possibly more, with numbers varying between 45 and 100.

Financial appraisals in the documents showed that the intention behind the scheme was that St. Modwen would profit by £6,000,000 and Arun would make around £5,000,000.

These documents were anonymously sent to the Civic Society who were shocked to discover that a senior Officer of the Council should use their meeting to put out information that was not true.  "How can we ever trust anything this man says in the future?" said Deputy Chairman Hugh Coster. "This is certainly not the way a new Chief Executive should behave in front of the public."

September 2012

UPDATE December 2012.  Details revealed by Arun District Council as part of their consultation process, show that the information about flats on the Hothamton site has turned out to be correct ‒ 200 of them are proposed, potentially for student use, in several blocks, the tallest being 8 storeys.  Because of this there will be no room for anything else on the site, although Arun makes vague noises about shops in its blurb, and almost all the public car parking on this site will disappear.

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