Home > Employment > If the council has nothing to hide, will it publish the relevant documents?

If the council has nothing to hide, will it publish the relevant documents?

The Coast to Capital Local Enterprise Partnership awarded £6 million of funding in support of a project at Airfield Park Bognor Regis, part of Arun’s enterprise@BognorRegis initiative.

The council’s press release can be read here: Celebrating a £6 million boost for Bognor Regis

(Notice how the wording does not make it clear whether this funding will need to be repaid or not).

It is being suggested by NewsBognor (see http://www.newsbognor.com/enterprise.html ) that this funding was actually a “loan” and that it has now been withdrawn by Coast to Capital on the basis of non-viability of the scheme.

If true, this raises a number of questions:

Question 1 – Were Arun’s councillors aware that the council had taken out a £6 million “loan” and, if so, how did they plan to repay it? What precautions were put in place in the event that the project failed to attract investors?

Question 2 – Was this “loan” bid approved by Full Council? 

Question 3 – By taking out a “loan” did the council predetermine its Local Plan policy for the provision of employment? (presumably the council wouldn’t bid for a £6 million “loan” unless it had already decided to go ahead).

Question 4 – When bidding did Arun make Coast to Capital aware that the land in question is in Flood Zone 3?

It seems pretty much inconceivable that such substantial investment would be provided without an assurance of “improvements” to the local infrastructure, specifically the A29.

In response to a recent public question the council stated:

The documents submitted to the Coast to Capital Local Enterprise Partnership contained commercially sensitive information provided by the developers and thus at this stage of the bidding process there is only limited information publically available. None of the documents referred to the upgrading the A29 from ‘Growing Places’ funding.”

An interesting choice of words. Nobody has ever suggested that the “Growing Places” funding was for “improvements” to the A29. It is a deliberate avoidance of the question.

Both Coast to Capital and Arun District Council have, so far, declined to disclose full details of the bid for this funding and the council’s part in that bid.

Question 5 – In order to win this funding, did the council imply in any way that large-scale development (at Barnham/Eastergate/Aldingbourne) would be used to fund “improvements” to the A29?

Why is this important?

In its draft Local Plan the council expresses a “preference” for a relatively low house building target of 400 houses p.a. (which would mean only 230 houses to be built at Eastergate/Westergate/Barnham in the plan period). It would be impossible to fund “improvements” to the A29 from only 230 houses.

It would therefore be inappropriate for the council to express a “preference” for 400 houses p.a. and, at the same time, to give assurances to Coast to Capital that “improvements” to the A29 might be funded from planning obligation resulting from large-scale development. We need to know if this happened or not? 

Question 6 – Did the council make it clear to Coast to Capital that its “preference” was for a house building rate of only 400 houses p.a.? (and that this would mean no planning obligation for “improvements” to the A29). 

Question 7 – If the council has nothing to hide, will it publish all documents relating to its bid for this funding.

  1. Flid
    December 13, 2012 at 10:00 pm

    On a recent homeless interview at civic Fiona crouch who interviewed me passed comment she was fed up with all problems landing last minute on her lap at housings failure to sort says something when employers are saying this in the workplace and what does this Nigel Lynn do if you email him he sends it out and nothing gets addressed

  2. Flid
    December 13, 2012 at 9:55 pm

    This government is promoting disabled people having jobs some 6months ago I was asked what I would like to see when in 2014 my dla is reviewed I said I would like to see someone on the panel who has same as me I was then made aware317jobs for disabled was being created sitting on new pip panel replacing current dla what chance do I now have living under Arun to do this they have written me off left here to languish on benefits time Arun was out all have had enough this area has no chance under them I want my life I want out of arun

  3. Robin McDonald
    October 29, 2012 at 7:55 pm

    Q7. I think we should be told.

    • October 29, 2012 at 8:40 pm

      It’s quite possible that everthing is above board and proper. If that is the case, then why the need for secrecy?

      I think the idea is that the “loan” is repaid using planning obligation from future development – my main concern is what happens if the Felpham to Bognor Relief Road link road is built (using Growing Places Funding) and then there is no planning obligation from future development (this location has already failed to attract inward investment in the last 10 years)

      In that scenario would we the taxpayers be liable for repayment of the “loan”?

      Have the council taken appropriate steps to protect the taxpayer from any worst case scenario?

      I think its a fair question and we should have a bit of openness (for a change) from our district council.

      If there’s nothing for us to worry about then will Arun please put the necessary information in the public domain so that we can see for ourselves.

  4. Flid
    October 27, 2012 at 8:24 pm

    You have only to look in the gazette a poor lady thought her mums grave had been vandalized I can understand arun had to make it safe but rather than admit they are ever wrong saw fit to remind the lady some paperwork wasn’t in her name how can the general public deal with these people always on the defensive never ready to say hey folks we got it wrong and apologize after a year of them this is as near as I want to get to a mental breakdown some honesty and approachability would be in order this area has no hope if they continue on this trend I’m hoping this week my family can get me away from here all issues with arun are a waste of time people know so cant be bothered anymore let arun just get on with it

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