Call for businesses to support Worthing town centre improvement bid

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WORTHING Council has agreed to re-ballot businesses on whether or not to continue the town centre Business Improvement District (BID) for a further five years.

The council’s Joint Strategic Committee (JSC) has agreed to the Town Centre Initiative’s (TCI) recommendation to support the second bid ballot proposal.

The BID is a partnership between the council and the town’s businesses to develop projects and services that will benefit the trading environment. Businesses taking part in the BID pay a one per cent levy on top of their business rates, which is used to pay for things such as Worthing Birdman, the town centre rangers and additional Christmas lights.

Currently, 501 businesses, independent and chain retailers, are part of the BID scheme.

Sharon Clarke, town centre manager, said: “We hope businesses will agree to continue to be part of the BID. We appreciate it can be difficult in a tough economic climate but the evidence is the BID delivers great things for businesses, such as increased footfall.”

Councillor Bryan Turner, a member of the JSC, said he thought the first BID had been an “outstanding success”.

“I’m all in support of the council putting its weight behind the scheme,” he said.

Leader of the council, Paul Yallop, added: “The TCI is a very can-do organisation, it is very big society, and the BID has delivered some good things for the town centre.”

The first BID was launched in April, 2008, for a term of five years – during this time more than £1million investment will be made into Worthing by the businesses that take part.

Now, Worthing Council has agreed to re-ballot businesses for the second BID term. Ballot papers will be distributed in September, with a decision being revealed in November.