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Harrogate in 2024. HBC's 5 year plan.

30th January 2020

Civic Centre, St Luke's Avenue, Harrogate

Society members were invited to a presentation in the Civic Offices Council Chamber to hear about the Council’s Harrogate 2024 plan. Councillor Cooper began by welcoming us and looking forward to building on existing relationships with HCS and other local organisations.

Councillor Swift explained that 2024 will be the 50th anniversary of the Borough Council being established. Harrogate 2024 contains plans under four broad headings : Sustainability (in the economic sense),Digital, Destination and Commercialisation. He focused on Sustainability and Destination. Sustainability will be built be investing capital in important projects, such as the Harrogate railway station area (in collaboration with the private landowners), Ripon swimming pool (with associated income-generating gym), and the revamp of Harrogate International Convention Centre. Investment has also been made in Council owned assets like Conyngham Hall (modern offices for rent) and Springfield House (start-up offices). These investments are possible through the money saved by rationalising the Council offices, and the selling of capital assets.

He then spoke about the development of a ‘destination strategy’, and an ‘events strategy’ to support the hospitality and retail sector in the district. He noted that some past events (such as the Tour de Yorkshire and UCI) were ones that were perhaps too focused on one kind of tourism and that a broader range is necessary so that events were embraced by residents and visitors alike.

Questions from those attending included; – the extent of house building without enough improvement in infrastructure; how HBC can encourage more energy efficient house-building and more affordable housing; the need for HBC to work more with local voluntary organisations; holding appropriate events in places like Valley Gardens – but not ones that cause damage!

The message from Councillors Swift and Cooper was a desire to communicate more with local organisations and residents and to work together (though there will always be differences of opinion) to ‘build on our heritage to be a progressive and vibrant place to live, work and visit’.