Leading talents in business were honoured last night – including an ‘outstanding Brightonian’ who will retire next year.

The winners of the ninth annual Brighton and Hove Business Awards (Bahbas) were announced at the Palace Pier.

A big winner on the night was flood specialists Ambiental which took home the award for best environmental industry company and business beyond the city.

The Kitchen Store claimed the title of fastest growing business and was also highly commended in best independent retailer category.

The biggest surprise was for awards chairman and director of the city’s economic partnership, Tony Mernagh, who retires next year. He was presented with a red book engraved with This is Your Brighton Life and the title of outstanding Brightonian.

Caraline Brown, awards organiser, said: “Tony has held many senior positions yet has still found time to chair the Bahbas every year since their inception.

“Respected by all, including political parties and all sectors of business, he has had the strength and determination to work with seven leaders of the council and six chief executives – no mean feat. He leaves a legacy which we can all build on – to make Brighton and Hove a great place to work and to do business.”

Other winners included The Young People’s Centre who won greatest contribution to the community and The Treatment Rooms which won best customer service. The Sealife Centre was named best place to visit while Paddle Round the Pier took best event in the city.

Bookseller The Book Nook scooped best independent retailer, digital marketing agency DC Storm won the professional services award and ecommerce agency Gene Commerce won best new kids on the block.

Recruitment agency Stelfox won best place to work, creative digital and web design agency Bozboz won the creative industries award and managing director of the year went to Neil Purssey of fire safety equipment manufacturer Fireco.

The Argus, Absolute Brighton and Juice 107.2FM were media partners of the event.

The Bahbas were also supported by the Chamber of Commerce, Brighton & Hove City Council, the Brighton Business Curry Club and B&H Tourism Alliance.

l Don’t miss Business Matters for a full report and reaction from the Bahbas – only in The Argus on Tuesday.