Harrogate District Chamber of Commerce News

Winter CEO Report

4 Mar 2018 by Sandra Doherty

The winter months of December January and February are over but seems the snow is here to stay for at least another few days.

I hope that spring is just round the corner and I am looking forward to seeing all the Crocus on the Stray

What have I been doing this winter?  Well its been quite busy up to Christmas and as usual I have fitted a holiday or two into my business quiet time.

Sadly, I missed one or two events around Christmas as my Mum was really poorly, so I spent as much time with her as I could. Then there was the funeral to organise and all the other stuff which goes with it.

I missed out on the Ivy opening night and the Henshaw’s Carol Concert and a couple of invites to peoples Christmas Drinks things.

I did get to the Area Committee meeting to listen specifically to the plans or rather as it turns out no plans to solve Harrogate’s Traffic woes. News on the by-pass seems to be its not going to get put forward as Richard Cooper thinks Green Traffic options which will cost much less are a better way forward.  I am still not convinced that the people of Harrogate will be persuaded to use busses or bikes to stop us becoming gridlocked. News on the Keks Gill new road were also sketchy, and funding is still being looked into.

I seem to spend 2 hours every month listening to frustrated people discussing things, but nothing actually happens.

Different again was the St Michaels Hospice networking event at Crimple House where everybody I spoke to seemed to have a positive attitude and it was lovely to hear about the great works the Hospice do.

An invitation to Bio Clad Queens Award Presentation just proved how great businesses in Harrogate are working away and really making a difference exporting their products and services all over the world.

Sadly, the next day I went with Vicky Findlow to Ian Woods Funeral, he worked so hard as Harrogate Santa for the Lyons and the Christmas Market.

I have had a couple of meetings with Mike Partridge and Simon Weaver from Harrogate Town. Simon has agreed to be our inspirational speaker for the November meeting.

The Chamber meeting at the Old Swan provided information about the progression of the BID. Now that we have Mosaic on board it is moving along to a set schedule and meetings are positive and tasks will be given out to those of us who are involved.

The Christmas Lights group meeting was good in so far as the money raised has covered the cost of the lights again this year. This was especially important as for the first time the Group has had to pay VAT on the part of the bill it pays for rather than the Council picking up the whole VAT amount

Brian and I had a meeting with CEG (Commercial Estates Group) where we were shown the proposed development plans for Green Hammerton.

They seem to have been working very closely with HBC to push this forward as the preferred development.

Flaxby it seems is full of flaws with to the outsider are not obvious.

Neither Brian or I could grasp what these were and were left none convinced that Green Hammerton would be the better option.  It still seems further out of Harrogate than we would like for housing to be of benefit to especially those seeking affordable houses for the lower to midrange earners.

The amount of land set aside for business use is small in comparison with Flaxby business park which is of course a separate issue from the opposite side of the road Flaxby Housing development.

Green Hammerton is the one which is in the Local Plan, so I would urge you all to take a look and make any comments you feel on the website.

I then missed the Chamber Meeting at the Pavilions and thank Mike for stepping in for me. I understand it went very well and provided some interesting information both from Harrogate College and Simon Gregory on Employment for the future.

I came back from my holidays just in time to attend the Business Lunch at the Pavilions where Simon Callow provided a very entertaining speech. I spent an interesting hour after the speaker talking to a range of people who stayed behind for a few drinks after the event.  I didn’t go to the Coach and Horses which seems to be where everyone goes to continue the fun.

A last-minute invite to go to Harrogate Bus Station and travel to the Show Ground on a new Electric bus was a very chilly experience but hopefully one which will see Harrogate Bus Company’s 36 Busses being recognised for the vastly reduced emissions these busses will bring.

Lastly, I have been interviewed about the problems Brexit has brought to Harrogate as many of our European migrant workers have gone home.  I think this is part of a much wider study and as Harrogate has a unique micro climate Both Simon Cotton and I have given our views.

It is sad that so many felt that they were no longer welcome here and returned back to their own countries or perhaps to other parts of Europe.  I am not convinced that the Brexit effect is the only reason for the reduction in numbers.  The economy as it bumps along the bottom perhaps means there are less jobs available and the exchange rate makes it a less attractive option than it was, have probably had a bigger impact.