Celebrations have begun at the Great Yorkshire Showground with news that planning permission has been granted for a new £10m exhibition hall. The hall will replace the existing building which has outlived its useful life.
Commenting, Heather Parry, Deputy Chief Executive of the Yorkshire Agricultural Society said: We are absolutely thrilled with Harrogate Borough Council’s endorsement of our vision. This will be the largest single project the Society has ever undertaken and is a real investment into the future of Harrogate to help it become the finest events town in the country.
Now the real work begins, we will start working up the details of the scheme, from lighting schedules to designing the kitchen and everything in between! However, the earliest construction could begin would be next July, after the 2015 Great Yorkshire Show.
The showground is already a key venue year round for conferences, exhibitions and private functions, putting around £47m back into the region’s economy each year.
Miss Parry added: Harrogate is a great events destination and this project will help broaden its appeal. We already work closely with the team at Harrogate International Centre and the Harrogate Chamber of Trade and Commerce has been extremely supportive, all of which contributes to the town’s reputation for excellence and versatility as a venue.
Under its trading arm, Yorkshire Event Centre, The Great Yorkshire Showground has 5,372m² of lettable event space in the current Hall 1 and adjacent Hall 2 which will now increase to 6,270m².
Miss Parry said: Hall 1 was originally constructed in the 1960s and expected to last for 20 years so it has been a good Yorkshire investment! Unfortunately it is now deteriorating so we need to replace it.
Today’s visitors expect higher standards and better facilities than those of 50 years ago so we are adding a large foyer area, a café and improved toilet facilities.
Simon Kent, director of Harrogate International Centre welcomed the planning committee’s decision and said the new hall was a huge boost for Harrogate’s reputation as a leading UK event location.
Simon Kent said: A facility like this is another string in the bow of Yorkshire Event Centre’s facilities and strengthens Harrogate’s position as a versatile events town. With the backing of Visit Harrogate, YEC and HIC can continue to complement each other to attract more business to the town and further boost Harrogate’s economy.
The building has been designed by P+HS Architects, who also designed the Society’s headquarters, the Regional Agricultural Centre and its award winning shop and café, Fodder. The company is based in Stokesley, North Yorkshire.