BUSINESSES in Bognor Regis will benefit from extra security this year.
The first priority of the Business Improvement District board which is being set up is to take action to tackle crime and anti-social behaviour in the trading area.
The BID is set to take effect in two months. Commercial organisations within the district – which stretches from Butlin’s and the University of Chichester to the Royal Norfolk Hotel – will soon receive their first bills for their levy to pay for the initiative.
BID manager Toyubur Rahman wrote to businesses in the improvement district yesterday to keep them up to date with what has been happening.
“I will be holding a meeting in late February to let everybody know the latest situation and to introduce the directors of the new BID board.
“I will be telling people how to get involved and if, someone wants to be a director, how to do it,” he said.
“I will also be outlining the priorities. The first priority will be to tackle crime and anti-social behaviour.”
The best way of achieving that goal with a slice of the £700,000 funding which will be generated by the levy for the five years of the BID is to be discussed by the board.
“We could hire a contractor to do the work for us or employ security guards from an agency – or we could hire the individuals ourselves.
“That would allow us to have a bit more control over them and that could enable them to get involved in other activities as well,” said Mr Rahman.
“There are pros and cons to doing that and the board needs to discuss them and make the decision.”
It was likely to be May or June before the directors were able to find out how much of the levy they would receive in the first tranche of cash when it is transferred from the billing authority of Arun District Council.
Mr Rahman said: “That means it is likely to be towards the end of the year before the security measures take effect. Ideally, I would like them in place this summer but, realistically, I expect it will be after that but before this Christmas.”
Other priorities on the BID’s programme are to create a more welcoming town centre, enable better parking and improving the image of Bognor Regis.
The improvement district was approved by 143 of the 179 votes cast last June. There are 293 commercial properties in the area which will have a 1.5 per cent levy on their business rates over £6,000 to pay for the chosen schemes.
The initial seven-strong board of directors for the BID is composed of representatives of businesses in the area. They include national retailers Boots and Wilko, as well as local concerns like Reynolds and The William Hardwicke.
The creation of the BID will come four years after Mr Rahman was appointed by a consortium of the University of Chichester, Butlin’s and Arun and