Business to have say over council 
plans to sell off landmark offices

The Crescent Gardens building has been used as Harrogate Borough council's main offices since the 1930s.
The Crescent Gardens building has been used as Harrogate Borough council's main offices since the 1930s.

Local business-owners and managers are being urged to have their say over controversial proposals put forward by Harrogate Borough Council to sell off its “Town Hall” offices and move into a brand-new block to be built at Knapping Mount.

Harrogate Chamber of Trade and Commerce is supporting Harrogate Civic Society and the Federation of Small Businesses in calling for more detailed information to be released before the council makes what they say is an “irrevocable decision”.

The Crescent Gardens offices are one of five administrative sites operated by the council, which the proposals would see amalgamated into a single site in order to improve internal communications and reduce running costs by up to £1m a year.

However, some critics of the plans say the Crescent Gardens offices are a landmark building with a dignity and history appropriate to their purpose. They also point out that the Knapping Mount site, behind the Harrogate International Centre, is currently earmarked in the local plan for a mixture of affordable and market housing.

A Chamber spokesperson said: “Business-owners and managers in Harrogate are one of the largest groups of rate-payers with no political voice as to what the rates should be spent on, so we are asking whether they think we should have more information about the proposed moves before a political decision is made.”

A Chamber meeting held on Monday evening agreed to petition the council to defer the decision pending publication of fuller information on the economic and practical benefits of the alternative options.

Local business-owners and managers are invited to a public meeting at Harrogate High School on July 1 to discuss the proposals. The meeting, which will start at 7.30pm, will be held by Harrogate Chamber, with Harrogate Civic Society, the Federation of Small Businesses and Harrogate Borough Council also attending.

The Chamber will give a progress report on the results of the petition, and will then submit the final petition to full council on Wednesday, July 15, when a final decision on the issue will be made.

The petition can be downloaded from the Chamber website and should be signed and returned by June 30.