Strategy set out for a strong local economy

(L to R)  ' Helen Suckling, Kathryn Daly, Nigel Avison, Coun Alan Skidmore and chamber president Sandra Doherty.
(L to R) ' Helen Suckling, Kathryn Daly, Nigel Avison, Coun Alan Skidmore and chamber president Sandra Doherty.

Three clear goals have been laid out by Harrogate Borough Council’s Economic Development Unit (EDU) to help build a strong local economy.

Speaking to more than 100 members and guests of the Harrogate Chamber of Trade and Commerce on Monday evening, EDU officers outlined their draft strategy to create an environment that supports economic growth in the district, helps people start up and stay in business, and helps businesses move to the district, grow and create jobs.

The council’s director of development services Nigel Avison, acting head of property and economic development Kathryn Daly and visitor services manager Helen Suckling, alongside cabinet member for planning, transport and economic development Coun Alan Skidmore, were giving an overview of the council’s draft Strategic Action Plan.

Mr Avison stressed the council’s number one corporate priority was a strong local economy but limited resources meant prioritising how council time and money was spent.

Outlining the three goals, Ms Daly said: “Creating an environment that supports economic growth needs several key elements including broadband and mobile coverage, employment land, investment in transport, skills and workforce development, a ‘business-friendly’ planning authority and the effective use of council assets, powers and influence.”

Ms Suckling added the visitor economy - both leisure and business tourism - was also significant, and the council aimed to sustain HIC as aleading large event venue, increase the contribution of tourism to the local economy, improve the visitor experience and attract a larger share of the national and regional tourism market.

The presentation was followed by discussion with chamber members of issues including helping people to start up and stay in business and tackling barriers to growth such as high bank interest rates.

l View the draft strategy and complete the short online survey at www.harrogate.gov.uk/economicstrategy. Deadline is Monday, June 25.