Chamber to look at ways to improve town

Harrogate District Chamber of Commerce's management group. (S)

Harrogate District Chamber of Commerce's management group. (S)

Improving Harrogate for the benefit of its businesses will be discussed at the next meeting of Harrogate District Chamber of Commerce (HDC).

To help determine what changes businesses want to see in the town centre and how they might be paid for, HDC has invited speakers from other towns and cities to talk about how they have accessed funds and carried out work – such as setting up Business Improvement Districts (BIDs).

The speakers include: John Bywater, chairman of Leeds BID; Andrew Mear, chairman of Skipton BID; and Andrew Cooper, CEO of Leeds BID and former CEO of Bath BID.

Mike Procter, who leads the chamber’s town centre focus group, said: “Businesses have come together to great effect around the UK, funding all sorts of projects that benefit the business community.

“I have invited speakers who have experience in setting up and running these groups to tell us how they’ve worked and of the benefits they’ve achieved.”

The open meeting will be held at the Old Swan Hotel, Harrogate, on Monday, January 9. Networking begins at 5.30pm, and the discussion will start at 6.15pm.

Attendance is free for members and first-time visitors (£15 for repeat visitors), but places need to be booked by emailing info@harrogatechamber.co.uk.

The meeting follows the publication by Harrogate Borough Council last year of the Town Centre Masterplan, which set out strategies for the future of the town.

HDC chief executive Sandra 
Doherty said: “Some of the suggestions in it seemed more popular than others, but equally we recognise that there are many differing views about what Harrogate needs.

“As a chamber, we’re keen that the business community has a significant input into any town centre strategy that is adopted by the council. Many of our members are based in the town centre and have an in-depth knowledge of how it works, as well as the aspects which are more problematic.

“The meeting on Monday will seek to find positive ideas for the future of the town centre which will benefit businesses, residents and visitors alike.”