Harrogate 'must remain accessible by car' says Harrogate BID leader
The remarks by Harrogate BID chair Sara Ferguson, who co-owns two town centre businesses, came research named Harrogate as one of Britain's leading shopping locations in new rankings for the nation's best performing retail centres devised by HDH.
Sara Ferguson said: "The report makes it clear that all the retail locations found to be the most vital include smaller, more accessible town centres, close to large cities.
“It also goes as far as saying that towns and cities with a high proportion of households with two or more cars will perform better and boost vitality, as car owners drive to retail centres.
“Both North Yorkshire County and Harrogate Borough Council need to take this into account when drawing up their future plans Harrogate town centre.
"It must remain accessible for all, including those arriving by car.”
Harrogate is ranked as the nation’s 23rd best performing shopping area, in a list of 1,000 retail centres compiled by strategic retail property consultancy, Harper Dennis Hobbs (HDH).
At a very tough time for Harrogate businesses, the survey is regarded as a rare piece of good news.
But the head of Harrogate Business Improvement District said the town's strengths still had to be worked on and successful recovery would a lot of work.
Sara Ferguson said: “This report is good news for Harrogate, particularly given the pressures of Covid-19, the internet and out-of-town shopping centres.
“Not only is Harrogate in the top five centres by region, it is also in the top 25 most vital retail centres nationally.
"As we know, Harrogate is a great place to shop, eat and drink, and this report helps cement its reputation as a safe and welcoming destination for all, day and night.
“However, we all need to work hard to ensure it continues to prosper and attract locals and visitors to its shops, bars, restaurants and attraction."
Harrogate's high ranking position in the league table of leading shopping locations has also been hailed by Harrogate District Chamber of Commerce.
Its chief executive Sandra Doherty also said there was absolutely no need for complacency if Harrogate was to bounce back successfully.
She said: “The report makes very interesting reading and should be used as a reference when looking at the future of Harrogate town centre.
“Remaining in the top 25 of most vibrant retail centres nationally is good news, as is being in the top five centres by region.
“However, to remain vibrant we need to filly understand our core market. Why are people coming to Harrogate and what are they coming for?
"When we do, we need to ensure we have these ‘pull-factors’ in place, and if we need more, we must all we can to attract them."
The HDH Vitality Ranking determines the health of high streets and shopping centres, with a range of yardsticks including the change in residents’ movement, vacancy rates, and suitability to local consumers' demands.
For more information about Harper Dennis Hobbs, visit hdh.co.uk
A message from the Editor
Thank you for reading this story on our website. While I have your attention, I also have an important request to make of you.
In order for us to continue to provide high quality and trusted local news on this free-to-read site, I am asking you to also please purchase a copy of our newspaper.
Our journalists are highly trained and our content is independently regulated by IPSO to some of the most rigorous standards in the world. But being your eyes and ears comes at a price. So we need your support more than ever to buy our newspapers during this crisis.
With the coronavirus lockdown having a major impact on many of our local valued advertisers - and consequently the advertising that we receive - we are more reliant than ever on you helping us to provide you with news and information by buying a copy of our newspaper.