£275,000 cost of business planning contract for Harrogate Convention Centre redevelopment revealed

The cost of a business planning contract awarded for a potential £47m redevelopment of Harrogate Convention Centre has been revealed.

Friday, 17th September 2021, 4:28 pm
Updated Friday, 17th September 2021, 4:31 pm
Harrogate Convention Centre.

Harrogate Borough Council awarded the contract to consultancy firm KPMG at the start of August, however, the cost could not be revealed until now as both parties had not signed the paperwork.

The cost has now been revealed as £275,000 which will pay for assessments of the economic impacts of Covid on the events industry, as well as the creation of a full business case ahead of a decision on whether to go ahead with the potential £47m redevelopment.

A final decision on the project will be made by councillors next year and the council has yet to put forward any funding proposals, although it has said the business case would play a key part in supporting bids for government cash.

A council spokesperson previously said: “This decision, to award a contract to support the Harrogate Convention Centre redevelopment project, marks a significant step forward in our major investment.

“Harrogate Convention Centre makes such a significant contribution to the district's economy by bringing visitors and investment.

"And this investment will deliver a major component of the Harrogate town centre masterplan and will be key to the district’s Covid-19 economic recovery plan.”

The convention centre was used as an NHS Nightingale hospital for almost a year and it was partway through the pandemic when the council revealed its redevelopment plans.

In July last year, the council said the 40-year-old venue was in "critical need" of an upgrade to keep its national appeal and that without investment its maintenance costs could reach £19m over the next two decades.

Before the KPMG contract was agreed, a separate, £1m contract was awarded to design firm Arcadis in March and the company is currently drawing up design proposals for the project.

Plans to rebuild the venue could involve three exhibition halls being demolished to make way for a new 5,000 sq m hall and a refurbished auditorium.

Around £20m would be needed to complete a first phase of redevelopment, with another phase later.

By Jacob Webster, Local Democracy Reporter