Chamber of Commerce to discuss business opportunities at vital Harrogate meeting

Sandra Doherty

Sandra Doherty

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Harrogate District Chamber of Commerce will hold a vital January meeting discussing different projects to boost business in the town and how to fund them.

The meeting, titled ‘Improving Harrogate for Businesses’ will focus on a range of initiatives designed to improve business and tourism across the district.

However, the Chamber stressed that it was not yet looking at becoming a Business Improvement District (BID), but wanted to create a “forward plan” to improve Harrogate.

Sandra Doherty, chief executive of the Chamber said it was not yet clear what type of projects and initiatives businesses across the district wanted to pursue.

She said: “We don’t want to market it as we’re looking at a BID. It might be that we don’t for it or it might be that we go for a Tourism BID.

“But we need to be leading, getting people together to look at things for the town and also how other towns are moving forward. We need to do that in Harrogate to try and get things done. #

"We’re also asking the town, do you want more tourists and if so what’s the best way to encourage them here. This could be things like better signs on the motorway.

“But we need to be in place to take advantage of these opportunities. If we sit about then we are at risk of losing them so it’s vital we have a forward plan. We want businesses to come up with things they think they need”

The meeting is just one of a number planned by the Chamber next year, with others set to discuss the Tour de Yorkshire, the Local Plan and a Traffic and Transport update.

After enjoying another successful year, including promoting a new parkway rail station connecting to Leeds Bradford Airport, the Chamber are keen to attract new businesses.

Ms Doherty explained that the Chamber was useful as they work on behalf of businesses across the Harrogate district and share information across the entire area.

She said: “The Chamber is all about encouraging our members to use each other and become a part of the Harrogate family. It also gives people the opportunity to get to know more about the business community in Harrogate.

“We discuss relevant topics in our monthly meetings. We bring the council in to explain decisions or we may push for various items. We have a decent mix of businesses but we’re always looking for new members.

“Sometimes as an independent, you tend to be quite insular on your own goals but the world is always moving around you and the information we give opens new ways of thinking.

“The whole point is to encourage businesses to work together, support each other and promote the district.”