Calls to support CCTV camera scheme

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BUSINESSES on two industrial estates in Hartlepool will be asked to support the continuation of a scheme that funds a crime-fighting CCTV system.

A ballot will be held to seek their approval for the renewal of the Longhill and Sandgate Business Improvement District (BID).

The BID, a partnership between the Longhill and Sandgate Business Association, Hartlepool Borough Council and Hartlepool Police, funds the costs of monitoring and maintaining a 15-camera CCTV system which has helped to significantly reduce crime, vandalism and anti-social behaviour on both industrial estates.

Money is raised via a two per cent levy on the rateable values of all businesses within the BID area. Individual businesses pay between £100 and £1,500 a year.

It is estimated that £60,000 a year would be raised from a new BID levy.

The current BID began in April 2008 following a “yes” vote in a postal ballot. It is due to end next March.

A further ballot is now being proposed to seek approval for the continuation of the BID from April 2013-March 2018.

Hartlepool Mayor Stuart Drummond, who also chairs the Safer Hartlepool Partnership, said: “The CCTV system has had a major impact on crime, vandalism and anti-social behaviour and this has directly benefited companies on both industrial estates.

“If we are to retain and attract jobs in Hartlepool it is vital businesses are able to operate with confidence.

“If the CCTV system could not be funded I fear that crime on the industrial estates would increase and that could start a spiral of decline.”

Tony Mills, chairman of the Longhill and Sandgate Business Association, said: “The CCTV system plays a key role in protecting the industrial estates.”

Postal ballot papers will be sent out to all businesses on October 29 and must be returned by November 26. The ballot will be administered independently by Electoral Reform Services.