These are Harrogate BID's ideas for supporting town's businesses

Anyone thinking the latest ructions inside the Harrogate BID group when four members of its board quit after less than five months may lead to a period of inaction, may yet be proved wrong.

Monday, 11th May 2020, 4:44 pm
New plans to support Harrogate businesses - Harrogate BIDs new acting chairman Sara Ferguson.

Harrogate BID may have lost most of - but not all of - its representatives of independent businesses when Robert Kennedy (chairman), Chris Bentley, Robert Ogden and Rob Spencer took the decision they did but the ten remaining board members are currently working on a wide variety of ways of supporting businesses in the town centre.

Harrogate BID’s Interim manager Simon Kent and acting chairman Sara Ferguson outlined to the Harrogate Advertiser a substantial list of plans to boost Harrogate’s economy in the coming months - coronavirus permitting.

And it’s not just about BID’s new #raisethebar campaign - to convince the Government to increase the rateable value threshold to £150,000, enabling more businesses to access emergency grants - or the Harrogate BID Coronavirus Business Impact Survey it has just launched online.

Simon Kent told the Harrogate Advertiser that, while, 2019 had seen the first BID board enact “some of the easier” ideas to improve things, BID was well aware the situation required serious action.

Sara Ferguson said: "As an independent business owner, myself, I am not underestimating the challenges ahead.

"No one has a crystal ball about the future but we were tasked with helping bring a better town centre for businesses and customers.

"We take pride in Harrogate. It is a great place and we want to make it even better."

Harrogate BID initiatives for 2020

1. Creating Harrogate BID’s own set of guidelines and advice for local businesses to assist them survive the coronavirus lockdown and emerge from it in good financial health.

2. A deep clean of Harrogate town centre will be undertaken, from the weeds growing between paving stones to an intensive tidy-up.

3. Lobbying councils, local government, while linking up with other BIDs on a national level to secure a better playing field and better terms of operation for town centre businesses.

4. More floral displays to reinforce Harrogate’s draw to visitors.

5. Investing proper sums of money this festive season to ensure the Christmas lights in Harrogate shopping areas are the best ever.

6. Working with Harrogate Council officials on improvements to the AppyParking scheme to make it better for shoppers.

7. The introduction of ‘Harrogate Ambassadors’ to enhance the town’s reputation for giving a warm welcome to all.

8. The introduction of Street Marshalls in the evenings to support the town’s nightime economy.

9. Encourage local companies to give BID’s Harrogate Gift Cards as a norm in employee recognition situations and promote local shopping.

10. Investing significant sums of money in holding Christmas events in Harrogate town centre.

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