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Coronavirus: Harrogate economy recovery plan being drawn up

Coronavirus: Harrogate economy recovery plan being drawn up

Published by Local Democracy Reporter Jacob Webster at 4:45pm 27th May 2020. (Updated at 4:46pm 27th May 2020)

Harrogate Borough Council will next month unveil the first steps of its plan to drive the district’s economic recovery.

  • Harrogate Borough Council has set up a “task force” to manage the town's economic recovery from the pandemic.  
  • Businesses in the borough have received a share of £50million in government grants distributed by the council.
  • There are also plans to regenerate parts of the town centre. 

Coun Graham Swift, deputy leader of the council, said a “task force” has been set up as part of the plan to help businesses emerge from what experts are predicting to be the worst economic downturn in 300 years.

Officers will set out steps to help businesses back on their feet and make the district more environmentally friendly in mid-July when hard-hit retailers will reopen after almost three months of closures.

Coun Swift said signs of positivity have already been shown by businesses in the borough which have received their share of £50million in government grants distributed by the council.

And he has hailed “game changing” plans to regenerate key parts of Harrogate town centre with improved cycling and walking routes as a boost for traders.

Harrogate town centre at dusk

He said:

“Officers have distributed over £44.5million of grants to 4,000 businesses in the district at remarkable pace and I must say we have received very positive response from the many businesses that received these funds.

“This support is targeted to ensure businesses survive and has played an essential role in achieving this goal.

“Survival is one goal, but our next priority will be help businesses recover and subsequently thrive in our district.

“Work has kicked off on this and an Economic Recovery Task Force has been initiated which will work on establishing deliverable support to companies.

“Some of this work is already underway in accelerating our core strategy – we have received national funding under the Transforming Cities agenda and have big, game changing projects around Station Parade and Harrogate Convention Centre.”

harrogate train station

Cash from the government’s Transforming Cities fund will be used to create an eco-friendly ‘gateway’ to the Station Parade area with better links to shopping streets.

The project is expected to be completed by spring 2023 and will also see some on-street parking spaces removed to make way for wider pavements.

Harrogate Borough Council has also been given more than £140,000 to get the district’s high streets safely back to business when the lockdown restrictions are eased.

Coun Swift said officers will lay out the first steps of the economic recovery plan at a meeting of the council’s cabinet next month:

“The task force is expected to bring reports to cabinet in subsequent meetings which will flesh out the detail of some of these opportunities,” he said.

“The impact of covid-19 on businesses in Harrogate will be far reaching but individual businesses will be impacted in distinct ways. We are in communication with many businesses and their feedback will play an important role in our own plans."