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BID to boost Weymouth town centre
COUNCILLORS have thrown their weight behind a scheme that will give Weymouth town centre a much-needed boost.
Weymouth and Portland Borough Council’s Management Committee yesterday backed the town’s Business Improvement District (BID) scheme with £41,600 worth of ‘feeder’ funding to help the group behind it move forwards towards a ballot. A steering group of business owners aims to make the town centre a more desirable destination for shopping.
A consultation will be carried out and will see local businesses helping to create a business plan for Weymouth town centre.
Over five years it would see £600,000 to £700,000 ploughed into projects to increase business prosperity.
BID has proved to be very successful in Dorchester, implementing a number of schemes to support traders and shoppers.
In a request for funding, Weymouth BID chairman Nigel Reed told the management committee: “We have a steering group, which is a limited company by guarantee, and it has a lot of skilled people on board. The good news is that almost daily there are people coming forward to support this.
“I’m here as part of a team and it needs to be a team because we need to cover all sectors of the town.
Mr Reed explained the steering group had also put in a bid for a Mary Portas pilot scheme where a town can get help from the retail guru.
Councillors supported the BID request, but Councillor Geoff Petherick said: “I’m in support of the process but I have concerns about the application being adopted.
He added: “As far as the aims of the BID are concerned I have significant concerns. If I was a trader I’d want to know what kind of market are we going after. Are we trying to upstage Dorchester?”
Economy spokesman Ian Munro-Price said: “We should go with the recommendations before us and help businesses to help themselves in moving the BID forward.”
Finance spokesman Peter Chap-man said: “We need to support this. When local businesses ask the council to do something to help them around the town it’s often beyond our resources but this is deciding what’s best for them and the town centre.”
The council also agreed the economic briefholder be appointed to join the BID steering group.