EXCLUSIVE — Sir Richard Hotham Regeneration Scheme appeal submitted to Planning Inspector

Proposed £26m theatre for Hothamton site by SRH

The Herald understands that an appeal against Arun’s refusal to grant planning permission for its ambitious £80 million Regeneration scheme has now been submitted by the Sir Richard Hotham organisation to the Planning Inspectorate.

In rejecting the scheme some weeks back, the second version to be so rejected, Arun’s Development Control Committee DCC rejected a comprehensive report by its own planning officer recommending approval, and relied instead on a report from a consultant which criticised architectural aspects despite the scheme architect being the same one whose nearby Esplanade Grande scheme collected major design awards, and using the same successful ‘Edwardian-style’ theme for the Regeneration proposals.

We have been advised by a contact in the planning area that rejection of recommendations by DCC’s is fraught with risks and thus unusual. She feels the reasons put by the Committee to justify rejection may get short shrift because design quality is, at best, an area for personal preference as opposed to sound planning criteria. She opines that, though she has not seen the appeal, which we understand is very comprehensive and detailed, she would expect the appeal to have a very high chance of succeeding. In that case, Arun, she says, could face a very serious challenge if it then refuses to deal with Sir Richard Hotham as landowner.

“This is not a private owner, it is a public authority with very clear responsibilities to consider Best Value in such matters. Its own scheme might well then have to be compared in those terms against the SRH proposition which, after all, comes with £80 million of funding which its own scheme entirely lacks, For example, instead of the £26 million we are told SRH will invest in their 1100 seat theatre, Arun has admitted it does not known how the future development of the 350 seat Alexandra Theatre can be funded, a major issue indeed for a cash-strapped council.”

We contacted a spokesperson for SRH who said they are not in a position to make a statement except they had also sent copy to Arun. We also contacted Arun’s Chief Executive, Nigel Lynn, but at this time we have not had a response.

It is not known when the appeal will be considered but probably in the early autumn.

Arun announces Regeneration Conference

In the meantime Arun has announced a Conference to be held on 22 September at the Butlins Conference Centre in Bognor entitled.

Turning the Tide — A bright future for Bognor Regis

“We would like to invite you to come and find out why Bognor Regis is THE place to live, visit and invest in the South East. With over £280 million invested in the town in the last few years, around £290 million currently being delivered and £970 million more planned plus 5,500 new homes, the party’s already started, but there’s still time to join the fun. Come and hear why Rolls-Royce Motor Cars chose to invest in Bognor Regis, how Butlin’s has transformed the resort’s visitor profile to ABC1s, how the University of Chichester is doubling student numbers in Bognor Regis and why design-guru Wayne Hemingway is working on four major projects in the town”

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