The Sunken Gardens is an important green space in central Bognor Regis which is valued by the community but is not achieving its full potential. Consultants have been appointed to prepare refurbishment plans for the gardens.
This report seeks approval for the contract heads of terms and the concept design in order that this can be taken forward for public consultation and delivery.
Upon invitation of the Chair, the Principal Landscape and Project Officer introduced her report, which identified the next steps for the Sunken Gardens Project. She then handed over to Ed Manning from LUC, the external consultants.
The LUC presentation was shared via a remote link and included the brief that was given, analysis of the site and information regarding the recommended option.
Members (and a non-Committee Member given permission to speak by the Committee) then took part in a question and answer session as summarised below:
· Would increases in material costs be a limited risk for this project. The consultant confirmed that an increase in materials had been accounted for.
· Could the project be completed earlier and opened up by the summer. The consultant said it may be possible to open part of the site prior to the summer.
· Should signage be installed to make clear the location of the ramps.
· The possibility of a coffee bar / café on the site was discussed, and Members voiced their preference for a non-mobile café in this circumstance. The consultant said that this was currently beyond budget, however could be looked at in future.
· Clarification was sought around refurbishing the existing play equipment. The consultant confirmed there were allowances to refurbish and repaint the existing equipment that would be reused.
· Clarification was requested around the maintenance of the planted area. This would be a wild meadow which the consultant did not feel would require intensive maintenance, however they did plan to consult with the Community Gardeners for their views on this.
· Would the existing paths be upgraded and resurfaced. The consultant stated at the moment this was not part of the scheme.
· Could a visual gateway from the carpark through to the northern end be created.
· Could power and infrastructure for activities be taken into consideration.
Accessibility of the site was raised by several Members and discussed at length, in particular whether the site could be made more accessible from the southern side with ramps, which it was felt was key to the project. The consultant stated that introducing a ramp from the southern side would be costly and require cutbacks to other areas of the project.
Members thanked Ed Manning for the work that LUC had done.
Councillor Walsh then Proposed an amendment to recommendation 1 which was:- ‘To approve that the concept design is taken forward for public consultation and the preferred option is implemented by the project team, but that the project team be requested to consider incorporating a ramped central southern entrance to the garden.
This amendment was Seconded by Councillor Huntley. Following a vote, the amendment was confirmed as CARRIED.
The substantive recommendations were Proposed by Councillor Edwards and Seconded by Councillor Walsh.
1. The concept design be approved to be taken forward for public consultation and the preferred option be implemented by the project team, but that the project team be requested to consider incorporating a ramped central southern entrance to the garden and
2. The Heads of Terms, as set out in the report, for the Sunken Gardens construction contract procurement process be approved.