Residents, businesses and community groups have the opportunity to share their views on the future development of Harrogate town centre during a six week public consultation between 4 September and 16 October 2015.
In light of the challenges facing town centres nationally, such as the growth of online shopping and out of centre retailing, Harrogate Borough Council appointed planning consultancy Peter Brett Associates and urban designers Environmental Associates, to prepare a Harrogate Town Centre Strategy and Masterplan.
The main objective of the strategy and masterplan is to provide an assessment of the strengths and weaknesses of the town centre and to develop a vision and design for the future, which will ensure Harrogate’s continuing economic prosperity.
The Draft Harrogate Town Centre 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 draft strategy and masterplan 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 there will be a number of ways that the public can find out more about the scheme and give their views.
From Thursday 4 September through until 16 October the consultation document and supporting baseline report will be available on the council’s website.
Officers from the council’s Planning Policy team will be available to answer any questions at public exhibitions on:
- Thursday 10 September, 9am-4pm – Harrogate Farmers Market, Cambridge Street Harrogate
- Saturday 26 September, 10am-3pm – St Peter’s Church, Cambridge Road, Harrogate
There will also be an unmanned public exhibition in the glazed foyer at St Peter’s Church on Cambridge Road in Harrogate from Tuesday 22 September to Sunday 4 October.
This 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.
Once the public consultation closes, the responses received 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 plays a pivotal role in driving the local economy. It is the district’s largest retail, leisure, business and tourist destination, a major conference and exhibition venue, and an important source of local employment.
Towns around the country are facing a number of challenges such as the pressure from out of centre retailing and reduced town centre footfall. It is crucial that we do all we can to ensure the future of Harrogate town centre – and part of this must be the design of the town itself and how we can encourage more people to visit and improve their experience of Harrogate.
In preparing a town centre strategy and masterplan for the centre we are acknowledging the significance of the centre to the district’s economy and the importance of maintaining a thriving centre that continues to compete strongly with its regional and national competitors.
It is important to point out that it is not the purpose of the masterplan to provide the detailed designs or costing of the projects identified but simply to highlight the opportunities available and any particular considerations or constraints that should be factored into those detailed designs. Once adopted the council will need to decide how and when projects can be brought forward, with partners, and subject to available funding.
The public consultation will be available on the council’s website from Friday 4 September 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.