Hall at showground set to be demolished to make way for new £10m exhibition centre

An artist's impression of the new hall's exterior.
An artist's impression of the new hall's exterior.

The demolition of Hall 1 at the Great Yorkshire Showground is set to begin this week to make way for a new £10m exhibition centre.

The work is being carried out as part of ambitious plans to make Harrogate the conference capital of the country, by creating a smarter, larger, state-of-the-art centre to rival any in the UK.

The Yorkshire Agricultural Society (YAS), which owns the Yorkshire Event Centre, submitted the proposals to demolish and rebuild one of its two exhibition halls early last year, with planners giving the go-ahead for the scheme last June.

Hall 1, a key element of the Great Yorkshire Show and used for Countryside Live and the spring and autumn flower shows, was first built in the 1960s.

Designed to last just 20 years, say owners, it is no longer fit for purpose.

The new hall will be 1,000 sqm larger and high enough to accommodate showjumping.

Fronted with a mix of copper, glass and dry-stone walling, it will house a new cafe, toilets, meeting rooms and a reception area for 400 people.

“This will be a building that Harrogate can be proud of, “ said Nigel Pulling, chief executive of the YAS as the plans were approved.

“It’s a competitive market place and we need to keep up.”

The goal is to create a “dynamic, versatile and contemporary clear span event space”, ideal for exhibitions, business and corporate events.

It may also house large scale conferences, sporting events and concerts, the YAS added.

The society is to invest £5,000 in smart traffic lights outside Sainsbury’s to deal with any increase in traffic, and a temporary exhibition centre is to be built to accommodate visitors.

Work on the new hall is set to be completed before the start of the 2016 show.