Harrogate District Chamber of Commerce News

Update from Harrogate Convention Centre & the Royal Hall

24 Aug 2020 by Ian Kidson

20th August 2020
Dear Harrogate Chamber of Commerce
I am writing to you following the recent announcement that we have agreed to
the NHS’s request to extend the contract due to the ongoing coronavirus crisis,
the challenge of the current level of infections, and potential for a second peak.

Harrogate Convention Centre will continue its role as a Nightingale hospital
until March 31st, 2021. This will be reviewed on October 1st, 2020 to assess if
there is an ongoing need for the hospital to remain in situ.

While we remain proud to be able to do our bit to support the NHS during this
pandemic, I am also acutely aware of the role our venue plays in the local
economy, especially for the local businesses in Harrogate and across the whole

The situation we find ourselves in is not one that we would ever choose.
However, the fact is that the whole of the event industry remains in lockdown
until at least October 1st 2020. As a consequence, the venue would not be able to
host any events until after this date. The decision by the NHS to extend all
Nightingale tenancies was informed by the COVID-19 infection rate, which, as
you will be aware, has been heading in the wrong direction. If this unfortunate
trend continues, then the prospect of our industry re-opening in October may
be called into question.
In anticipation of an extension of the NHS tenancy, our teams worked tirelessly
to look at alternative ways to run events, including at other venues and
marquees in the town; regrettably, all of the options explored proved not to be
commercially viable.

All that said, we are hopeful that the level of infection improves and that the
review in October is a positive one. If this is the case, then we would expect to
re-open at the much earlier date of December 12th, 2020.
We will be back, and our sales team is continuing to assist both existing and new
customers with their events, finding alternative dates, and taking new bookings
ready for when we re-open (with a bang!) in April 2021.

I will provide a further update on our event calendar once we have heard the
conclusion of the NHS October review. In the meantime, please see our current
schedule of public events in the diary below. You will note that many
conferences and exhibitions this year have already been cancelled or moved by
the event organisers. Of course, this calendar is subject to further change
following the recent announcement.

I would also like to reassure you that we are doing all we can, together with
colleagues across the industry, to continue to lobby government at every level
for post-Nightingale support packages. We are not just seeking support for the
venue, but for all the local businesses in the district, which are so important to
support and attract the events that HCC hosts.

Finally, I would like to thank those of you who have been incredibly patient and
understanding during this uncertain time. Many of you have sent messages of
support, which is much appreciated. Please do let me know if I can be of any
help or support you in any way during this extended period of closure, and I will
be in touch with any further updates.

Kind regards,

Paula Lorimer
Director, Harrogate Convention Centre
Kings Road, Harrogate HG1 5LA
Telephone: 01423 537231
Email: paula.lorimer@harrogateconventioncentre.co.uk