Andrew Jones MP, Harrogate and Knaresborough
Andrew Jones MP, Harrogate and Knaresborough

MP says that 55% of survey respondents are happy with Harrogate town centre


MP reveals result of biggest ever inquiry into the state of Harrogate town centre retail.

Full survey 

Thousands of Harrogate residents have responded to an in-depth inquiry into the state of retail in the town circulated by local MP Andrew Jones.  Around 10,000 people, selected at random, were asked their views on all aspects of Harrogate’s retail offer and nearly 2,800 responded.


Mr Jones has published the results of the inquiry and will be taking forward discussions with key town centre groups such as the Harrogate Business Improvement District (BID), Harrogate

Independents and the Harrogate District Chamber of Trade and Commerce.  Mr Jones will also be talking to Harrogate Borough Council and North Yorkshire County Council.


Some of the headline results are:

  • Fifty-five per cent of respondents are fairly or very satisfied with Harrogate town centre at the moment
  • The majority (60 per cent) of residents shop in Harrogate because it is close to home.
    Forty-one pe cent of respondent do half or more of their shopping online.
  • Most people use their cars to get in to Harrogate and two-thirds of them found it easy to find a parking space.
  • Over half of all respondents (52 per cent) thought that parking charges in Harrogate are just right or too cheap.
  • Nearly three-quarters of those who had a view about cycling facilities in the town centre felt they were poor or very poor.

When asked what one thing they would change about Harrogate the most popular choice was a wider range of shops and fewer empty shops.  Six per cent felt cheaper parking was a priority.
Only 10 per cent of respondents felt that Harrogate’s cleanliness was poor while 92 per cent felt that the appearance of local shops was average or better than average.


Almost 50 per cent of respondents backed more pedestrianisation in the town with 25 per cent opposed.  A quarter had not yet formed a view.
Over 60 per cent would recommend shopping in Harrogate to a friend.

Commenting on the survey Mr Jones said:

Nearly 2,800 responses is an enormous amount and statistically gives a fair representation of local peoples’ views on the state of retail in Harrogate.  There are some results that surprised me particularly around pedestrianisation and the availability and price of parking.

The stand-out result though is surely the fact that over 40 per cent of people do half or more of their shopping online.  This is a huge challenge for traditional retail.


Mr Jones continued: 

NowI want to take forward the challenges raised by this survey and build on the many positive aspects raised by local people.  There are areas where I want to go back to respondents – particularly over cycling provision and the reasons so many people now prefer online to high street retail.

The results show that the solution is not as simple as just doing one thing to fill empty shops and tempt people back in to the town centre.  It is a very complex picture and I will work with traders groups, landlords and local councils to address those factors


  1. It’s very disappointing more people should have bothered to fill it in. It’s no good moaning harrogate if you can’t be bothered to fill in a survey

  2. What survey? We didn’t know there was one . Did you have to be walking around the town centre to take part ? Would explain something .
    Just goes to show that the mps dont shop in Harrogate town centre or they would know its run down…instead of spending lots of money on a survey and it would cost a lot . why dont they get off there ass and go and look. Or is that too much like work??

  3. I’m so shocked do people walk around with rose tinted glasses on or blinkers…. I’m not bothered about the mega large retail shops closing except for the job losses. It’s the amount of people in the town centre and off streets FULL of sleeping bags,tents etc some with the homeless residents there but some empty obviously they have gone to find food/drinks. Noticed a lot of homeless belongings hidden behind in certain areas too. Harrogate is Not what it was like 10/20years ago its more like over 100 years ago so instead of going forward we have gone backwards. No need for people to not have shelter as there’s a hell of a lot empty buildings in Harrogate that are owned by people overseas who have bought just for the land and not the buildings. Yes I know some want to live outside but most don’t and would love a roof over there heads but just can not afford the high private rents in Harrogate and surrounding towns/villages.

  4. Great 55% of people in the survey are happy with Harrogate town centre, are they the people who shop elsewhere, or particularly like having vacant shop units, or should have gone to Specsavers.

  5. I see that you have omitted the sentence regarding the cleanliness of the downtown area in this posting. By downtown I assume you refer to the pedestrian precincts. Previously it was stated that 90% of the people responded, thought the area to be clean and tidy. I am dismayed to read it because it just indicates to me and the other 10%, like me, that find the area dirty and shameful for a town like ours and what is worst, how low our standards and expectations have become under this government, both local and national.

  6. In the reporting above on Harrogate Informer we are a little alarmed at the “Almost 50 per cent of respondents backed more pedestrianisation in the town with 25 per cent opposed” line.

    If you read an alternative survey question “If you could change ONE thing about the retail experience in Harrogate what would it be?” Only 3.32% favoured more pedestrianised areas.

    The reporting above actually highlights a different question’s results “If spaces for disabled badge holders are safeguarded do you support more pedestrianisation in the town centre?”

    Why have the Harrogate Informer chosen this repackaged question to highlight that almost 50% backed more pedestrianisation?

    The questions are two subjects, the latter survey question should not package one social issue up with another and the reporting should not in my opinion highlight the wrong question.

    On a similar vein of thought, the survey conveniently packages up the narrative that more than 52% of shoppers feel that parking charges were ‘just right’ or ‘too low’ by adding up two categories. If you add up the ‘way too high’ and ‘bit too high’ the percentage who generally think parking charges are high is 47.98%! Not an insignificant amount.

    We have conducted a petition online with 1600 respondents all in favour of ‘Free 3 Hour Parking in Harrogate’ the numerous comments indicate a general unhappiness with the cost of parking.

    We think how statistics are ‘framed’ can obscure the facts. This survey does not take into account visitors to the town, just local residents. Visitors to the town are a big part its’ lifeblood.

    On a positive note, the survey does however indicate a very real concern by the residents surveyed about the range or shops and the amount of empty shops in the town. This should be highlighted in any reporting.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.