Weston-super-Mare town centre street wardens team could be expanded and given powers to tackle anti-social behaviour after BID is renewed

BID supporters posted their ballot papers in the past month.

BID supporters posted their ballot papers in the past month. - Credit: Archant

Town centre bosses were celebrating this week after business owners voted to renew Weston-super-Mare Business Improvement District (BID) for five more years.

The BID is a collaborative initiative which requires firms to pay a levy into a central kitty to fund town improvements and new business initiatives.

It is managed by Weston Town Centre Partnership, which used the money in its first five-year term to implement street safety measures, shared crime-fighting technology and various promotional campaigns and events.

For the past month, town centre business owners voted in the BID ballot by post, with the majority backing the BID, giving it a fresh five-year mandate to promote and protect Weston’s businesses.

BID chairman Paul Batts told the Mercury: “I’m very happy, it’s very important for Weston.

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“The next few years are really important. I see the BID as the glue between lots of things going on.

“With all the college work going on, North Somerset Council’s regeneration and Dolphin Square getting finished, the next two to three years are going to be really important to put Weston on the map and make it a great place to work and live.”

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Mr Batts believes the presence of street wardens in the town centre was a crucial factor in convincing business bosses to back the BID.

He added: “We didn’t want to lose the street wardens; we’ve made Weston feel safe as a shopping environment.

“We need to continue that, keep it clean, let all the development and it’s onwards and upwards for Weston.”

Central ward councillor Richard Nightingale heralded the BID’s ‘many accomplishments to date’ and described the renewal as ‘another positive step for our town’.

He added: “A big thank you must go to retailers who have voted to encourage growth and safe operation in the centre by supporting the current scheme.

“Moving forward the scheme is committed to spreading their current funding to increase operations to cover a wider scope, while increasing their physical presence.”

Following the BID renewal, town centre safety measures could be further bolstered.

Mr Nightingale revealed an expanded street warden team could be handed legal powers by the council to assist the police in tackling antisocial behaviour.

He said: “It is hoped the valued warden programme, through support from North Somerset Council, will also adopt additional law and order powers to assist the police.

“This is undoubtedly a step towards future proofing the town centre for residents, shoppers and retailers.”

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