With regard to your emailed questions to the BID Board regarding the Town Centre Masterplan and the proposed trial pedestrianisation of James Street, this was raised and discussed at the BID AGM on 10 December and I hope that you have received the minutes from that meeting.
The BID Board position is clear that the masterplan requires a thorough review, in the light of current challenges, and that the key components of the plan must be reconsidered to determine whether they are still valid.
The Board confirmed their intention to support full consultation before any action is taken and welcomed the commitment from NYCC, after the meeting on 29 September 2020, that officers will engage with business owners on James Street before developing or authorising any plans that would impact on parking or vehicle access.
The BID are developing plans to undertake a comprehensive consultation programme to gather ideas and proposals for the development of Harrogate Town Centre, both in the immediate short term and for the longer term development. We don’t underestimate the task involved, but believe that for this to be comprehensive and effective, we will need to meet and have discussions with property owners, business owners and managers, business employees, residents, councils, visitors and other stakeholder organisations. This consultation needs to be much more than an online survey, or meetings and presentations, but a genuine opportunity for people to meet up and share their ideas, opportunities, and challenges for the town centre, alongside their likes, and dislikes, regarding the current state of the town.
The original aspiration was for this work to commence early this year but the current lockdown means that we are now likely to start our meetings and discussions in April with the aim of presenting the outcomes in September.
I would welcome the opportunity to discuss this plan in more detail with you, either in person or via Zoom.