What Harrogate BID says about independents' complaints over town centre

Battling to increase footfall in Harrogate town centre - Harrogate BID brings street performers to Cambridge Street.
Battling to increase footfall in Harrogate town centre - Harrogate BID brings street performers to Cambridge Street.

After playing a prominent role in the success of the carnival weekend in Harrogate recently, the BID team have been in action again.

Having sponsored the spectacular Saurus 'dinosaurs' and street performers the week before, last Thursday, saw BID bring street to Harrogate town centre again for the launch of the new free Eat:Drink Harrogate guide at in the Victoria Shopping Centre.

Harrogate Business Improvement District was launched at the start of the year to improve the town centre for businesses and shoppers in a challenging environment and increase footfall for shops.

Surge of support for new Independent Harrogate

After winning a ballot of town centre businesses last November, it then announced a board made up of representatives from independent and national retailers, hoteliers, solicitors, accountants, business leaders and tourism and leisure experts.

The Harrogate BID manager Elizabeth Murphy, who will report directly to the ten-strong executive board, took up her position last month.

With Harrogate businesses in the BID area already paying a levy towards the new group's five-year budget of £3 million, some businesses have grown impatient for bigger action to protect the town centre against the growth of empty retail units.

As many as 100 have now formed Independent Harrogate to campaign for free parking and better representation on the BID board.

In response, John Fox, Chair of Harrogate BID, (Business Improvement District) and Elizabeth Murphy, BID Manager for Harrogate BID, attended a meeting with Independent Harrogate last week which both sides said later was productive,

John Fox said: “It was a useful meeting. We accept that they have a number of key objectives which they see could improve Harrogate.
"I informed them that the Harrogate BID had already had discussions with a Government Minister regarding the high Business Rates which many businesses are struggling with.

He continued: "On the subject of car parking the BID has already completed a face to face comprehensive survey of Harrogate businesses and convened a meeting with senior officers of North Yorkshire County Council and local businesses regarding car parking charges and issues. We are meeting both North Yorkshire County Council and Harrogate Borough Council shortly to discuss the issues in the report.
"The BID is working very hard with all local retailers across the BID area.”

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