Harrogate BID chooses former Leeds and Huddersfield manager to take on top role
Harrogate Business Improvement District (BID) has announced it has appointed Matthew Chapman as its new manager.
Mr Chapman, who is the current Huddersfield BID manager and also held the same role in Leeds, will start in his new position in May.
BIDs are public-private partnerships in which companies contribute cash towards town or city centre improvement projects and Mr Chapman said he has a "great deal of experience" working on them with businesses, councils, tourism bodies and the police.
He said: “Harrogate is a fantastic town with so much to offer, and coming here as a regular visitor since my childhood, I know it well.
“Thanks to my roles with both Leeds BID and Huddersfield BID, I’ve gained a great deal of experience working with businesses, councils, tourism bodies and the police. Building teams and working with wider teams is a core strength of mine.
”I’m really looking forward to starting my new job helping to promote Harrogate as a wonderful destination to shop, eat and drink, and to ensure the town centre is clean, safe and welcoming to all.”
Harrogate BID launched in 2018 and has funded projects including street cleaning, free bus journeys and car parking, with a recent focus on helping businesses survive the Covid-19 pandemic.
The launch of the business body, however, has not come without some turbulence with a number of board members stepping down in recent months and questions over how levy payer's money is spent.
It announced a new-look board in December with five new members and group chair Sara Ferguson said the addition of Mr Chapman will bring "fantastic ideas for promoting Harrogate as a must-visit destination.”
She said:"Matthew was the standout candidate in our recent recruitment drive for a new manager. We are very much looking forward to working with Matthew as Harrogate comes back to life from Covid-19 lockdown number three."
Mr Chapman was appointed as the Leeds BID operations manager in 2016 and later as Huddersfield’s BID manager in 2019 when he led on projects including a town centre app, interactive trails, street art and a new destination website.
He will replace Simon Kent, a former director of the Harrogate Convention Centre, who has filled the £45,000-salary Harrogate BID manager role on an interim basis for the last 11 months.
Mrs Ferguson added: “I’d also like to say a big thank you to Simon Kent, who stood in as our interim manager at the start of the first Covid-19 lockdown a year ago.
"He has done a great job in promoting the town and supporting the businesses within it, and we are incredibly grateful to him for all he has done.”
By Jacob Webster, Local Democracy Reporter