Officers from Harrogate Borough Council’s Planning Policy team will be on hand to answer questions about the draft Strategy and Masterplan for the town centre at this Thursday’s Farmer’s Market. (10 September).
The public exhibition at the market in Cambridge Street will run from 9am – 4pm. It forms part of a six week consultation giving residents, businesses and community groups the opportunity to share their views on the future development of Harrogate town centre.
In light of the challenges facing town centres nationally, the council appointed planning consultancy Peter Brett Associates and urban designers Environmental Associates to prepare a draft Harrogate Town Centre Strategy and Masterplan.
The draft strategy and masterplan provides an assessment of the strengths and weaknesses of the town centre and suggests a vision and design for the future, which will ensure Harrogate’s continuing economic prosperity.
The draft strategy and masterplan features:
- a summary of the findings of a comprehensive assessment of the current situation in the town centre
- a vision of what the town centre could be like in 2025 along with a number of strategic objectives that would be necessary to achieve that vision
- a masterplan for the centre of the town and an outline of the projects and proposals relating to the plan
policy recommendations for how to manage the town centre and
- a plan for implementing the changes proposed in the draft masterplan
The document sets out a number of projects and proposals that form the core of the physical masterplan under three broad themes:
- a public realm strategy – for the many and varied public areas in the town centre
- a visitor strategy – for people coming to, and spending time in Harrogate town centre and
- a movement strategy – for how people, cars and public transport can better move around the town centre
Throughout the six-week consultation process, which began on Friday 4 September, there will be a number of ways that the public can find out more about the scheme and give their views.
As well as being at the public exhibition at the Farmers’ Market this Thursday, the council’s Planning Policy team will also be at the exhibition at St Peter’s Church on Cambridge Road on Saturday 26 September between 10am and 3pm.
The exhibition itself will be at the church until Sunday 4 October and will provide an opportunity for people to see the draft vision and objectives for the town centre, along with information on a number of the proposed projects.
Between now and 16 October the consultation document and supporting baseline report will be available on the council’s website.
Once the public consultation closes, the responses will be carefully considered and the document amended to take account of the views received. The strategy and masterplan will then be adopted as a Supplementary Planning Document forming part of the development plan for the district and holding weight when making decisions on future planning applications in the town centre.
It will also play a key role in delivering town centre improvements and attracting inward investment to the centre.
Councillor Rebecca Burnett, the council’s Cabinet Member for Planning and Sustainable Transport, said:
Harrogate town centre is the district’s largest retail, leisure, business and tourist destination, a major conference and exhibition venue, and an important source of local employment.
In preparing a town centre strategy and masterplan for Harrogate we are acknowledging the important role it plays in the district’s economy and the vital need to maintain its position as an area that continues to compete strongly with its regional and national competitors.
It is important to point out that the draft masterplan doesn’t provide detailed designs or costing of the projects; it simply highlights possible opportunities for developing the town centre. Once adopted the council will need to decide how and when projects can be brought forward, with partners, and subject to the necessary funding being available.
The public consultation is currently on the council’s website at: http://consult.harrogate.gov.uk, where people can respond online. Responses can also be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org or posted to Planning Policy, Planning and Development, Harrogate Borough Council, P.O. Box 787, Harrogate, HG1 9RW (please provide your name and postal address).
The closing date and time for responding to the consultation is 4.30pm on Friday 16 October 2015.