Harrogate Water Brands have released proposed plans for the expansion of their site on Harlow Moor Road.
The site, next to the Pinewoods and the Iron Gates field was identified by Harrogate Borough Council as a source of high quality spring water from which to relaunch Harrogate bottled water and was developed in 2000 following a lengthy and detailed tender process.
Harrogate has many spring water sources, each with a unique mineral composition, (in fact it has the highest concentration of unique mineral springs in the world.) At the height of Harrogate’s success as a spa town, people would visit different spring sources to ‘take the waters’, believing them to offer different medicinal properties.
The Harlow Moor site was chosen by Harrogate Borough Council for the bottling plant as it’s water source offers an extremely well-balanced mineral composition, providing a clean, neutral taste profile.
Tony Cain was successful in securing the tender and undertook the significant investment to start and develop the business.
It continues to run as a family business with Tony’s son James, as managing director. The business has grown year on year with growth of over 30% from 2015/16 to 2016/17, vastly outperforming market growth in bottled waters of 9%.
The facility on Harlow Moor bottles the naturally filtered spring water at source. Although this sounds like a simple process, to preserve the purity of the 500 year old water utilises state-of-the-art production processes, all to the highest levels in the industry, allowing the quality to be maintained.
Nicky Cain said: Harrogate has an unrivalled ‘water heritage’ and we are immensely proud to be continuing to carry the baton. Harrogate is the ‘Original British Spa Town’ as well home to the ‘Original British Bottled Water.’
Our water filters through layers of rock until it reaches the depth from which we abstract, becoming naturally enriched with minerals; the product is very consistent and virtually absent of nitrate and nitrites, reflecting the quality of the ground and catchment area.
We take the responsibility of bottling Harrogate water very seriously, so therefore, maintaining the purity of the water is incredibly important. In addition to off-site testing our on-site laboratory takes samples every hour, as well as samples being regularly taste tested.
Traditionally the UK water market has been very seasonal, but since our focus on export and the travel sector, combined with a greater awareness for healthy hydration, we’ve seen that demand for bottled water has grown throughout the year. Our existing facility is extremely limited. Expanding into the small field behind the current building would mean we would have more bottling capability and flexibility, allowing us to remain commercial, secure larger customers and ultimately future-proof the growth of the business.
We understand the importance of the Pinewoods area to the local community and have spent a lot of time in putting options together that will critically maintain and enhance public access; with paths, new planting and information boards explaining the history of Harrogate’s natural springs.
We are as anxious as anyone to protect the environment and achieve a sustainable future for spring water and our spa heritage. We’re keen to work with the community to achieve the best solutions and welcome feedback on our proposals.
Harrogate Water as a brand has taken the name of Harrogate far and wide. The prevalence of Harrogate as a spa diminished in the 70’s with more of a focus on developing conference trade for the town. The significance and impact of the brand to Harrogate is difficult to quantify. Having the Harrogate name on board a global airline, at a prestigious sporting event such as Royal Ascot, or simply on the shelf of a major supermarket is hugely significant though.
An open event was run from the facility on Wednesday, 18 January 2017. This showcased the existing facility and heralded the publication of the details of the proposed changes.
The 1,925 m2 development has raised concerns from the Pinewoods Conservation who, as a group, are discussing the proposals and are working with Harrogate Water.
A spokesperson for the Pinewoods Conservation Group said: We have seen the outline development proposals and there will be a direct impact on land associated with our group. However, we are aware the proposal suggests a number of improvements to paths and access that are needed, but at the cost of loss of land and established trees.
We have raised a number of questions with Harrogate Spring Water, their building consultants and Harrogate Council so we can understand the full picture. Once we have the relevant replies the committee will discuss again and consult with our members on their views.
Aerial video of the existing and proposed development area.