Strong support for bid to champion town’s traders

PLans for a new organisation that would campaign to preserve the health of Harrogate town centre and its businesses have been met with a positive response.

More than 70 people have either shown an interest or expressed a willingness to help and participate in the new body, which is provisionally being called the Town Centre Development Group (TCDG).

The proposed volunteer-led organisation would look after the needs of independent traders by campaigning on issues, developing and protecting the trading environment, and promoting the town centre on a local, regional and national stage.

The group would ideally include representatives from all town centre business sectors including independent and national retailers, the hospitality sector, residents, professionals and other service providers.

Spearheading the formation of the TCDG is Peter Jesper, the managing director of the town centre business, Jespers. He said: “There seems to be quite a depth of feeling within the HG1 community that there are issues in the town centre and that it’s about time we got together and did something about them.

“The majority are from people with a retail interest who run businesses in the town. However, we’ve also had messages of goodwill and interest from residents and people whose businesses are not in the town centre but have an interest in the success of Harrogate town centre.”

Peter said the number of interested businesses was encouraging, especially as the old retailers’ forum had about 20 active members. The vice president of the Harrogate Chamber of Trade and Commerce, Peter added the idea for the group had also resulted in attracting new members from the retail sector to the chamber because it was likely that the TCDG would come under the umbrella of the Harrogate chamber.

A meeting is to be held on Monday, September 5, which aims to form a committee and identify key issues which the group could address. If you would like to find out more about the meeting or register an interest in attending, please contact Maggie Hall at the Harrogate Chamber by emailing info@harrogatechamber.org