Multi-million funding could trigger major changes in Harrogate town centre

An artists impression of the changes to take place in Victoria Gardens/Station Square (s).
An artists impression of the changes to take place in Victoria Gardens/Station Square (s).
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Multi-million pound funding could trigger plans to deliver a redeveloped 'transport hub' and pedestrianise part of Harrogate town centre.

Harrogate Borough Council has welcomed the announcement that the town will benefit from the latest round of funding from the Government’s Local Growth Deal.

The York, North Yorkshire and East Riding Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) will receive £23.68 million to help create jobs, support businesses and encourage the area’s economic growth.

Included in the projects announced this week are improvements to Harrogate’s rail station area to improve the passenger experience and to open up potential housing and employment opportunities.

The announcement comes as HBC is set to consider a report next Wednesday (February 1) which recommends the Station Parade area of Harrogate is made a priority regeneration project.

The Harrogate Town Centre Strategy and Master Plan, which was adopted by the council last year, would see changes to a number of key areas within the town centre.

Specifically in the station area of Harrogate it would see the creation of a redeveloped 'Transport Hub' on Station Parade, improvements to Station Bridge and Exchange Tower and turning Victoria Gardens into 'a gateway to Harrogate' with space for events and the pedestrianisation of James Street.

Now councillors at next week’s Cabinet meeting will be asked to approve a feasibility and viability study for the area as the first step in the project.

Councillor Graham Swift HBC’s cabinet member for Tourism, Economic Development and Enterprise said: “The announcement of Local Growth Deal funding to develop the Harrogate station area reinforces our belief that this site is key to the future growth and development of the town centre in terms of regional significance, providing as it will a vastly improved town gateway which will benefit workers, visitors and residents alike through improved travel facilities and accessibility.

“Other advantages that would flow from such a development include a better town centre ‘experience’ and an enhanced perception of the town.

"This in turn would translate into further investment and economic growth in the area and contribute to a strong local economy.

“Working in partnership with landowners and stakeholders is fundamental to ensuring that everyone can get the maximum benefit from the development, which will provide a major uplift to the urban environment around the station, creating a space where people want to work, shop and spend time.”

The report on ‘Implementing Harrogate Town Centre Master Plan Priorities’ also recommends prioritising a project to develop Harrogate Theatre, if and when funding becomes available.