The district’s retail vacancy rate has continued to decrease with just 6.8 per cent of empty shops, compared to 8.6 per cent at the end of 2019/20. Nationally, the vacancy rate is approximately 14 per cent.
The average salary of jobs advertised in the district has increased by 28 per cent from £25,000 to £32,000. With health and social work and education providing the largest number of career opportunities.
Footfall has also started to see an upwards trend as shops began to open and visitors return to the Harrogate district (although data for the summer period is yet to be released). This increase in footfall was supported by the Reopening High Street Safely Fund that encouraged people to return to the high street through a variety of campaigns.
Keen to ensure the district survives, recovers and thrives in a sustainable way the council are pushing forward with their economic recovery framework and action plan. A number of significant projects support this economic recovery, including:
- The £11million Transforming Cities Fund that will see a number of improvements around Harrogate Train Station that will provide a better retail environment to help support the town centre economy as well as creating sustainable travel opportunities
- The redevelopment of the Harrogate Convention Centre that annually contributes more than £35million to the local economy. This redevelopment will allow us to attract a broader customer base and substantially strengthen this economic impact
- Significant leisure investment plans to provide the most up-to-date facilities are available across the Harrogate district for future generations
- Deliver a package of digital infrastructure projects, such as superfast broadband, town centre Wi-Fi and full fibre, to encourage new and digital business to base themselves in the district. This is also supported by the council’s digital incubator launching in November
- Launch our Destination Management Organisation (DMO) that will create stronger working relationships with other regional, national and international DMOs and industry bodies and lead on the longer term recovery of the local visitor economy
- Improvements to our assets to support economic growth, for example the digital incubator at Springfield House, refurbishment of Conyngham Hall and development of new units at Phoenix Business Park in Ripon.
- £93million worth of Covid-19 recovery grants have also been distributed to the district’s businesses
Councillor Graham Swift, Harrogate Borough Council’s deputy leader and cabinet member for economic development, added:
It is really encouraging to see that the economy is recovering well across the Harrogate district. Especially with shop vacancy rates reducing.
As the district starts to exit coronavirus lockdowns and returns to a more normalised ways of living, we are keen to ensure that key investment projects are pushed ahead to ensure the local economy recovers and thrives.
We will also not want to do this alone, and have already been working proactively with a wide range of people and organisations and will continue to work in collaboration with our partners to share ideas and maximise resources we have available to us.
The council Covid-19 Economic Recovery Framework, which aims to ensure the Harrogate district survives, recovers and thrives in a sustainable way, is available on the council’s website.