Security boss backs Sunderland BID

Official launch of the Sunderland Business Improvement District campaign, Sunderland Minster.'Left to right;  Gary Hutchinson, Commercial Director for Sunderland AFC, Allison Thompson BID consultant, Andy Bradley, Director of the Bridges Shopping Centre. and 'Stephen Plews, Managing Director of Northeast Press.
Official launch of the Sunderland Business Improvement District campaign, Sunderland Minster.'Left to right; Gary Hutchinson, Commercial Director for Sunderland AFC, Allison Thompson BID consultant, Andy Bradley, Director of the Bridges Shopping Centre. and 'Stephen Plews, Managing Director of Northeast Press.
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SECURITY boss Les Ojugbana is urging city businesses to back the BID.

Plans for a new Business Improvement District, which would see more than £2.7million invested in the city centre over the next five years, were unveiled in February.

Head of security outside of Life of Riley in Green Terrace is Les Ojubana.

Head of security outside of Life of Riley in Green Terrace is Les Ojubana.

City centre businesses wanting to know more about the BID scheme can find out with a pair of special free workshops to be held this week.

One of the main aims of the BID is to boost the city’s evening economy and Les, whose company Gbana Security mans the doors at city venues Life of Riley, The Basement, Ttonic, Miss D’s, Cuba, Pulse, and Banana Jo’s, wants everyone to give the plan their backing.

“The BID is about businesses working together for the benefit of Sunderland,” he said.

Les believes Sunderland fails to make the most of attractions such as its cinema and the Empire Theatre.

“We want to try and attract people into the city centre, into shops, pubs, clubs and the theatre,” he said.

“Often visitors come to the cinema and theatre but they get bussed in and back out again. I see bus loads of people coming to the Empire but then leaving after the show.

“We need people to experience what is going on in the city centre. We need to create strong offers for people like free parking on evenings.

“We do have more people coming into the city centre on evenings, thanks to new bars, events, concerts and festivals but we need better marketing, promotion, access and signage.”

A new Business Investment District (BID) in the city centre hopes to raise the cash during the next five years which will then be spent on festivals and events to draw people into the city.

The BID proposal is being driven by Sunderland Business Ltd, a not-for-profit company led by businesses and organisations working together to tackle the challenges facing the city and boost trade.

The proposal – currently out to consultation – would see businesses with a rateable value of £15,000 or more pay a levy of 1.5 per cent a year over an initial five-year period. Every business which would be affected will be given a chance to vote on the plan.

Free workshops offering city businesses an insight into the BID scheme will be held at The Point in Park Lane between 6pm and 8pm on Wednesday and 2pm and 4pm on Friday.