'Make the most of our High Streets' plea to Harrogate district residents following Carriages closure

The Mayor of Knaresborough has urged people to make more use of the High Street following the announcement that one of its most well-known restaurants, Carriages, is set to close.

Thursday, 27th February 2020, 12:38 pm
Updated Thursday, 27th February 2020, 12:54 pm

The restaurant’s owners have expressed sadness at their decision to close its doors this week following a two-year battle to turn the business around.

Veteran restauranteurs David and Jo Straker, who also own William and Victoria in Harrogate, had hoped to transform the failing High Street venue but revealed that they have struggled with high rents and low footfall.

Prominent community members have come forwards to talk about the closure of Carriages on Knaresborough High Street. Picture: Charlotte Gale Photography.

Mayor Christine Willoughby says the closure is a fresh blow to the Knaresborough High Street. She said she understands how tough the current climate is for businesses and hopes that everyone will come together to give their support to ensure our town centres continue to thrive.

She said: “Our High Street is changing, as more and more people decide to shop online and use out of town businesses. I urge everyone to support our town centre businesses, if we don’t use them, we will lose them.”

Christine has also called for the Government to do more to support smaller High Street businesses when it comes to rates and rents.

She added: “I also hope that the Government will look hard at how our town centre businesses can be supported when online and out of town businesses can take advantage of these much lower rents and business rates. It certainly is not currenly a level playing field for our town businesses.”

Knaresborough Chamber of Trade has also blamed rent prices for what it describes as “devastating news”.

Bill Taylor, Secretary at the Chamber, said: “High private rents continue to be a key driving force in the slow decline of high streets up and down the country, this is a big blow for Knaresborough.”

David Straker, who owns Carriages, said bad weather and a “washout” Knaresborough Bed Race had added to their problems.

He said: “Sadly, we had underestimated the challenges facing us and the day to day input that was needed from us as owner managers to keep things on course.”

The couple said the decision would allow them to devote all their time and energy to William and Victoria.

They confirmed this is a separate and thriving business, which remains unaffected by the decision.