Independent Harrogate shops hail business rates cut

Independent Harrogate is hailing good news on business rates as the squeeze on high street shops in Harrogate continues to be felt.

Friday, 7th February 2020, 4:42 pm
Updated Friday, 7th February 2020, 4:44 pm
Some of the business supporters of Independent Harrogate pictured in James Street.

William E. Woods, one of the founding members in the pressure group which now includes nearly 200 Harrogate businesses, said the rate reduction would help smaller retailers.

He said: “Businesses with a rateable value below below £51,000 will see their discount increased from 30% to 50% from April.

“It’s something that has happened after a campaign launched last September by The British Independent Retailers Association (BIRA) with the full support of Independent Harrogate.”

Some Harrogate businesses feeling the pinch of competition from the rise of the internet, are hoping for more general reductions in the high level of rents and business rates, as well as support from Harrogate Business Improvement District (BID).

The idea has been welcomed by Harrogate Borough Council’s deputy leader Coun Graham Swift who said it is time landlords in the town “altered” their expectations on the rents they charge retailers.

He said: “It is inevitable that landlords need to change their expectations in the rents they can charge retailers if they wish to keep their properties generating retail rents.”

Harrogate is also set to lose another independent shop, as clothing store Fit Harrogate on Cold Bath Road has announced it is closing its doors.

Owner Lyndsay Wells said: “Over the last two years it has become too hard to compete with the high street and online shops. We’ve really noticed a drop in footfall.

“This year we’ve had an exceptionally poor January and have decided we just can’t continue. We have done what we can with the resources we had but you have to accept when it’s time to call it a day.

“We are really sad we have to do this but we are so grateful for everyone and hope people will continue to shop locally and support independents.”

But, in good news, successful Yorkshire-based funeral service Full Circle Funerals is expanding into Harrogate.

The business which prides itself on supporting people to create funerals that truly reflect the person who has died, is expanding into Harrogate town centre this month as part of a £200,000 investment that has created several new jobs in the town.

The investment has seen Full Circle Funerals transform a retail unit on Skipton Road into a modern funeral business.