BID to take Bognor to '˜next level'

Business owners are backing a proposal which they say will take Bognor's town centre to the '˜next level'.

Saturday, 18th June 2016, 10:54 am
Updated Thursday, 7th June 2018, 6:18 pm
(From L to R) Chris Heaps and Paul Wells are supporting town centre manager Toyubur Rahams BID plan

Town centre manager Toyubur Rahman wants to create a Business Improvement District (BID).

More than 200 towns and cities up and down the country currently have a BID.

A BID is a business-led partnership giving traders a stronger voice in matter that affect them, as well as collectively funding events which benefit the whole business community.

Mr Rahman has written to all 550 business in the middle of Bognor with the proposals, and is urging them to complete the survey.

“We want all our businesses to have a greater say in what goes on in Bognor so I’m urging everyone to fill in the survey by June 27,” he said.

“Having a BID would bring so many benefits to the town, it would give traders their own action plan for what they want to see in the future.”

The new BID would be collectively funded by all the businesses, paying between one and two per cent of their business rates.

The money would then be spent on regular yearly activities, such as the Christmas lights, as well as go into other projects, proposed by traders.

The levy on business rates could raise around £150,000 extra a year, and give access to funding from the big businesses who operate in the centre of Bognor.

Chris Heaps, chairman of the Bognor Regis Traders Association and owner of Heaps of PCs in the town, said: “As a traders’ association we are supporting Toyubur in putting a BID together.

“As a business owner I also support it.

“The idea of every business contributing and sharing responsibility for how money is spent is a fantastic one.

“It always seems to be the same few who contribute, so in a BID everyone contributes and of course that includes the national and multi-national retailers.

“It would mean paying a small proportion of your business rates so it’s extremely fair.”

Paul Wells, Arun councillor and owner of Unique Work Wear, added: “A BID is the next step forward in taking our town centre to the next level.

“The work Toyubur has done for the last couple of years has breathed new life and fresh ideas into the town and having a BID to help him would give more tools to deliver the projects and events that benefit all of us.”

Business owners will be given the chance to vote on the plans, and a 51 per cent yes vote of all those who respond is required to get a Bognor Regis BID off the ground.

Mr Rahman added: “I think if business owners feel like we’ve got a good plan they will support it.”

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