Agenda and draft minutes

Bognor Regis Regeneration Sub-Committee
Wednesday 17th June 2020 6.00 pm

Venue: Bognor Town Hall Council Chamber - Bognor Town Hall Council Chamber. View directions

Contact: Carrie O'Connor (Ext 37614) 

Items
No. Item

1.

Apologies for absence

Minutes:

            An apology for absence had been received from Councillor Mrs Stainton.

2.

Declarations of interest

Members and Officers are reminded to make any declarations of pecuniary, personal and/or prejudicial interests that they may have in relation to items on this agenda and are reminded that they should re-declare their interest before consideration of the item or as soon as the interest becomes apparent

 

Members and officers should make their declaration by stating :

a) the item they have the interest in

b) whether it is a pecuniary, personal and/or prejudicial

c) the nature of the interest

Minutes:

            Councillor Brooks – Personal as (i) voting member of Arun Arts which runs the Alexander Theatre; (ii) had made a submission to Arun District Council on elements of an informal scheme on the Regis site; and (iii) Premier Inn cardholder.

 

            Councillor Mrs Daniells – Personal as  (i) voting member of Arun Arts; and (ii) Whitbreads shareholder but under £25,000 threshold as stipulated under the Council’s Code of Conduct.

 

            Councillor Dixon – Personal as a member of Bognor Regis Civic Society.

 

            Councillor English – Personal.  He stated that some of the questions he was asking were from supporters of the Sir Richard Hotham Project and he saw no reason to treat them any differently from any other residents of the Arun District. He saw that as the best way forward.  As there were a number of questions which were being asked on behalf of lobbying groups and to which he did not know the answers, he had sent those to the Director of Place in advance of the meeting.  On reflection, he was concerned that the questions might or could now be  treated by some in a prejudicial way rather than as straight forward questions to be answered factually or clearly.  He was not in any way connected to or part of any lobbying groups with regard to regeneration but, if asked, would make his own decision to pursue an answer or question or not.  He had not attended any meetings, Council or otherwise, of any lobbying groups in respect of regeneration to the best of his memory.

3.

Minutes pdf icon PDF 138 KB

To approve as a correct record the Minutes of the meeting held on 4 February 2020  (attached).

Minutes:

            The Minutes of the meeting held on 4 February 2020 were approved by the Committee as a correct record and would be signed by the Chairman as soon as possible following the Council’s resumption of normal working.

4.

Start Times

To consider the start times of meetings for the remainder of 2020/21.

Minutes:

            The Subcommittee

 

RESOLVED

 

That the start times of meetings for the remainder of 2020/21 be 6.00 p.m.

5.

BID Update

Jason Passingham, Chairman of the BID Board, will be in attendance to provide an update.

Minutes:

            The Chairman welcomed to the meeting Mr Jason Passingham, who was in attendance to provide the Subcommittee with an update on the work of BID.

 

            Mr Passingham provided a comprehensive outline of the work he and his team had undertaken to assist businesses in a variety of ways to navigate the very serious effects of the pandemic and resultant lockdown that had been put in place by the Government.  He thanked the Group Head of Economy and the Senior Regeneration Officer for their contribution to the partnership working that had taken place, particularly with regard to the signage that had been prepared and which had been designed uniquely for Bognor Regis and its surrounding area.

 

            Following a brief question and answer session, Members of the Subcommittee commended Mr Passingham and his team for the huge effort they had made in assisting businesses in the town, and the Chairman also expressed his thanks for the way they had passed on all the information and guidance from the Government, which had been extremely beneficial for the business community.

6.

Update on Options for the Redevelopment of the Regis Centre Area pdf icon PDF 210 KB

The purpose of this report is to remind the Subcommittee of the actions agreed to date by the Council and to invite Members to consider whether changes to the core elements of the agreed scheme should be recommended to Full Council in order to facilitate a scheme which can be delivered commercially without resorting to any significant public subsidy.

 

 

Minutes:

            The Director of Place presented this report which provided the background to the Council’s development strategy for the potential redevelopment of the Regis Centre but which might now be severely impacted in light of the challenging economic conditions that would be experienced as a direct result of the corona virus pandemic.  A number of recommendations to Full Council had been set out in the report in order to facilitate an amended scheme which could be delivered commercially without resorting to any significant public subsidy.

 

            In participating in a full debate, there was an overwhelming concern expressed by Members that they were being asked to make recommendations on a matter which they did not feel fully informed about.  The previous administration had agreed a strategy but it was felt that far more detail was required, particularly with regard to the financial aspects relating to negotiations with Whitbreads and the future of the Alexander Theatre.  There was also a certain disquiet that what was being proposed was piecemeal development and was not regeneration.

 

            The Chairman, having picked up on the concerns being raised, proposed that the matter be deferred to seek further information around the financial implications, with a further report to be brought back by the Director of Place to a future meeting.  This was duly seconded.

 

            Further comments were made indicating that the development plans of the Sir Richard Hotham Project should be revisited and that the feasibility of opening the Royal Hall should be explored.

 

            The Director of Place, in confirming that he would present a further report to a future meeting in the event the matter was deferred, advised that that report would set out the basis of the negotiations undertaken previously and also include other issues raised in the debate relating to, for example, the condition of the buildings.  Due to the nature of its content, much of the report would necessarily have to be of a confidential nature.   

 

            The Director of Place also took the opportunity to remind Members that in 2018 the Council did have a redevelopment strategy for the Regis site, known as the Winter Gardens Project.  It had been agreed at that time that, in order to deliver a complex and overall package of proposals, that would be best achieved through a series of individual developments.  The report on the table was inviting Members to approve the first phase of that strategy to build a hotel and to bring back into the Council’s full control the public house and theatre to allow the Council to move forward on developing the site.  The Subcommittee was reminded that there was therefore a strategy, there was a plan, and the report was inviting Members to commence the delivery of the scheme.  However, he did request that if Members now wished to deliver something completely different, officers be provided with clarity around what they wished to see delivered.

 

            A further proposal was put forward that a recommendation be made to Full Council that the Sir Richard Hotham  ...  view the full minutes text for item 6.

7.

Bognor Regis Regeneration Position Statement pdf icon PDF 227 KB

To receive and note the Position Statement.

Minutes:

            In receiving and noting the Position Statement, the Subcommittee received/made particular comment on the following:-

 

Enterprise Bognor Regis: An update was requested on the A29 relalignment which was provided by the Director of Place who was able to advise that the County Council would be submitting a planning application in July/August for the northern section and a planning application for the whole of the road and the northern section of the strategic allocation would be coming forward at around December. Advice was also given that the Advisory Group was involved in discussions and there would be opportunities for public engagement.

Mention was made that a sign at Rolls Royce had still not been installed.

Town Centre Initiatives: A question was asked with regard to experimentisation for improving pedestrianisation and cycling in front of the Arcade and the Station.  The Subcommittee was informed that the Senior Regeneration Officer was working on that so that if money became available a bid could be submitted.          

Seafront Regeneration: The Chairman advised that, in his role as Cabinet Member for Technical Services, a confidential mediation meeting had been held with the suppliers of the new toilet block.  Good progress had been made and a satisfactory outcome had been reached.  In the meantime, temporary toilets would be provided for use from 10 July to 3 September 2020.  He expressed his thanks to officers for their work on this matter.