TOWN centre management company Rugby First has defended the annual charge it levies on local firms.
Last year the majority of businesses in town voted in favour of keeping the extra fee that pays for the Business Improvement District (BID) rangers, CCTV and cleaning services. But Quigleys Bar owner Sean Quigley feels it’s unfair to charge for services on top of normal business rates.
He said: “Why should we pay twice for services we already pay Rugby Borough Council for via our business rates, such as street cleaning and CCTV? We pay Rugby First £392 per year in addition to our business rates.”
He added: “What other services will be taken away from the control of authorities and offered to us by companies who charge extra? We would feel better if our rates were reduced by the amount we pay to Rugby First. Are we the only business that feels hard done by?”
Last year town centre businesses voted on whether Rugby First should continue. Some 84 per cent of businesses, based on rateable value, voted for the company to carry on.
Robin Richter, Rugby First managing director, said the company offered services that the council did not provide.
“Rugby Borough Council has never provided deep cleaning services, so if we didn’t remove gum, graffiti and steam clean the streets to remove ingrained dirt it would not happen. Many businesses in the town centre also ask us to provide a bespoke service, for example cleaning their frontage. This service is not charged for and certainly would not be provided free by Rugby Borough Council.”
He added: “We must be clear here, if there was no BID there would probably be no CCTV system at all, making our town far less safe than it is at the moment.”