Harrogate 'must remain accessible by car' says Harrogate BID leader

A Harrogate business leader has called for cars not to be left out of future of the town centre and its retail sector once the pandemic passes as a new report brings a rare bit of good news.
Retail sector boost - At a very tough time for Harrogate businesses, the high street survey is regarded as a rare piece of good news.Retail sector boost - At a very tough time for Harrogate businesses, the high street survey is regarded as a rare piece of good news.
Retail sector boost - At a very tough time for Harrogate businesses, the high street survey is regarded as a rare piece of good news.

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.

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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.”

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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.

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“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.

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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?

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"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

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