MP backs Advertiser's big town centre survey

Harrogate and Knaresborough MP Andrew Jones.
Harrogate and Knaresborough MP Andrew Jones.

Harrogate’s MP has given his backing to the Harrogate Advertiser’s big Town Centre Survey.

Andrew Jones MP for Harrogate and Knaresborough said the town centre had a bright future but it had to embrace the digital age which would mean embracing change.

In the MP’s monthly column inside this week's Harrogate Advertiser (August 16 edition) he says: “The Harrogate Advertiser is undertaking a retail survey for Harrogate town. This is something I strongly support.

“For retail to be successful we need people using our shops in our towns and villages.

“That is not to say we do badly now. Harrogate’s retail vacancy rate, the number of empty shops, fell to historically low levels last quarter.

“But our towns as a whole must exploit the digital age rather than be a victim of it.”

“The retail sector of a town cannot stand alone. It is part of a wider mix that gets people into the town centre where they can then see opportunities for spending away from their computer keyboard.

“Alongside high street retailers adapting their business models in the light of the relentless growth of online shopping, we need a strategy that brings people into the retail centre.”

The Harrogate Advertiser has launched its Town Centre Survey to give the public the chance to have their say on positive ways of improving Harrogate town centre as concern over a wave of recent closures in the retail sector grows.

But the news is not all bad in the retail/restaurant sector in Harrogate.

The last fortnight has seen Papa’s Authentic Mediterranean Cuisine reopening at a new location at 11 Princes Square while its old space at 7 Station Bridge has been filled with a new restaurant called Saranda.

The sign above the retail unit vacated by women’s fashion store East at 18 James Street now says “under offer.”

Work is also progressing on fashion chain Next’s new store at Victoria Shopping Centre.

And a smart local retailer is putting an empty shop to good use in a way which may serve as an example for the the future.

Watermark Gallery owners, Liz and Richard Hawkes, say they managed to persuade the landlord to allow them to take over the premises on Royal Parade vacated by Elaine Philips Antiques for the next three months to turn it into a ‘pop-up’ called Watermark Gallery

The aim of the Harrogate Advertiser’s Town Centre Survey is to ensure the public can add its iown positive ideas to the debate over the future of Harrogate town centre.

The deadline for completing our survey is Friday, August 24. The results will be published in the Harrogate Advertiser on Thursday, August 30. Your views will also be presented to Harrogate Borough Council, the Business Improvement District team, Harrogate District Chamber of Commerce and Visit Harrogate.

Please send the completed form to: Town Centre Survey, Harrogate Advertiser, 1 Cardale Park, Harrogate, HG3 1RZ.

The form is also online at www.harrogateadvertiser.co.uk Search for town centre survey stories.

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