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The row between Arun District Council and Arundel Town Council and Arundel residents has heated up with over 60 residents turning out for a protest against what they describe as “Arun District Council’s Big White Elephant”. The petition against building an Airbnb on the site has now received well over 700 signatures and is continuing to attract new signatories as people learn what Arun District Council are planning.

The Tax Payers’ Alliance have now joined the fray, describing Arun District Council’s proposal to spend £486,000 of local tax payers’ money on a speculative high-risk Airbnb as “bonkers” when  resident surveys in the town have found unanimous opposition to the plan and occupancy of other Airbnbs in the town are much  lower than Arun’s financial plan assumes.

Mayor Tony Hunt told the meeting that he believed that the tide was beginning to turn:

“Being on the banks of the River Arun we know a lot about tides and we believe the tide is turning. Some Arun District Councillors are beginning to question whether it is right to ride rough-shod over local opinion and provide funds for this Airbnb when council money is tight and when the economics of the proposal are so questionable. It is obvious that to create a sustainable future for Arundel we need more off-street parking with electrical charging points. In our conservation area  many people do not have either garages or drives, and so the government’s plans for switching to electric cars depends on there being sufficient charging points in the town.”

“The garages that Arun District  own in River Road are dilapidated and need to be demolished. Now that the Arun District Council officer who came up with this scheme has left, we have offered to work with Arun to bring a fresh pair of eyes to how this site is used in future. So far, that offer has received no response. For the District Council to be ignoring the views of the Town Council and local residents in this way is not a good reflection of how local democracy is meant to work. It is a great shame because in recent years the Town and District Council have been working well together to the benefit of Arundel residents.”

“Over and above the economics, we believe that it is dangerous to encourage visitors to drive to this River Road location. This is a narrow road, with no pavement, and driving down the steep and winding Brewery Hill or turning left off Arun Street to get there are both hazardous if you are a visitor and unfamiliar with these roads.”

Sign the online petition here https://you.38degrees.org.uk/petitions/stop-arun-district-council-building-a-4-bedroom-airbnb-in-river-road-arundel-1