Harrogate Mayor gets a place to call home at new headquarters

Former Harrogate Borough Mayor Nick Brown and current Mayor Stuart Martin earlier this year.
Former Harrogate Borough Mayor Nick Brown and current Mayor Stuart Martin earlier this year.

Harrogate's Mayor has welcomed news that he'll now have a specific place to host guests at the council's headquarters, but concerns remain from some that the authority's ceremonial head doesn't have a permanent place to call their own.

The Borough Mayor will now be able to use the council's Minster Room at St Luke's Mount to host civic receptions as part of a shared-use arrangement, which will see the room also available to host large council meetings.

While the majority of committee councillors welcomed the development at the meeting, Coun Nick Brown, who has been a strong advocate for the Mayor having their own permanent space, expressed some reservations.

"I'm not 100 per cent happy about it, because whether it's a man or a woman, the Mayor works jolly hard," he told councillors.

"I'm happy that we moved in this direction because I do feel there needs to be a room the Mayor can go to."

However, he added he still would have liked the Mayor having a permanent office.

"In this big building we don't have a shortage of space...and if we do have a shortage of space I fail to understand why because it's a very big building," Coun Brown said.

He added that he had concerns the room wouldn't be available for civic receptions if high-profile guests came to town on short notice.

He was told by council officers that if the room was double booked, the mayor would get priority use.

He also claimed "the current mayor is not totally happy with this situation".

However following the meeting, current Mayor Stuart Martin, who doesn't sit on the general purposes committee, said he was pleased with the move.

"I welcome the decision, it's the best use of the room," Coun Martin said.

"While I wouldn't want a room to be flat empty all the time, on occasions such as the UCI where we'll have some high-profile guests, it'll be very useful.

"It's the decision of the council and I look forward to being able to use it."

The move to get the authority's ceremonal leader their own space comes after councillors in June debated the merit of the Mayor having a specified area in the new council building, in the absence of a dedicated Mayor's Parlour.

It prompted Coun Brown, himself a former Mayor, to say the position had been treated "disrespectfully" since the council's move.

“I just think it's terrible the Mayor of Harrogate does not have a room in this building," he said at that meeting.

Following councillors' decision earlier this month, the room is also set to receive a major facelift aimed at making sure the space reflects the "best of the Borough of Harrogate".

That work will include the installation of various historical exhibits, as well as regalia related to the position of Mayor.

Lachlan Leeming, Local Democracy Reporter