Harrogate Lib Dem leader calls for new 'Town Team' to revive town centre
The leader of the opposition on Harrogate Borough Council has called for the whole community to come together in a non-political way to ensure the viability of the town centre.
Lib Dem leader Coun Pat Marsh said a new "Town Team" should be set up with a non-political approach to coordinate efforts to revive the high street's fortunes.
In a letter this week to the Harrogate Advertiser, the councillor for the Hookstone ward, says: "I have noted the concerns of many people, including the newly organised Independent Harrogate Group, they all have grave concerns about our town centre and its vitality and viability. "This is something my group on the council raised at the elections in May 2018. "I would ask all concerned to consider the development of a Town Team which could be a proactive organisation that includes businesses, landowners, landlords and residents working collaboratively with the council to improve our town centre, focusing on building relationships and practical actions."
Coun Marsh said the main aims of such an approach would include:Independent.Provide a vision and leadership for their place.Be positive and proactive.Non-political in their approach.Get stuck in and have a go rather than waiting for “someone else” to do “something.”Run by the community for the community.
Coun Marsh said: "There would be a need for a SWOT analysis to understand the strengths, weaknesses and opportunities of the town ventre. "Maybe walking audits to understand the place to help with building the vision. "Street stalls to talk to residents and visitors, which again would help in the creation of the vision and an action plan."
Coun Marsh also expressed concerns about the performance so far of Harrogate's new Business Improvement District, which is launching action to improve the town centre with substantial sums of money raised from a levy of town centre businesses.
She said: "I had assumed that the recently formed BID would be leading on this but have been alarmed by the fact that the membership of the BID board is maybe not as balanced as it should be to undertake this task. Maybe that needs addressing first."I hope that, with the desire to build a vision for the future of our town, a Town Team can be established so that we can make sure our town centre thrives for the benefit of us all."