An organisation created to promote Harrogate town centre as a must-visit destination for shoppers and tourists has unveiled a new-look board.

Taking on the role of Chair of Harrogate BID (Business Improvement District) is retailer Robert Kennedy – the owner of G23 and Porters – whilst restaurateur Sara Ferguson, co-owner of Sasso and Caffe Marconi, has been appointed as his deputy.

The rest of the members are: Andrea Thornborrow, Primark; Mark Robson, Marks and Spencer; Martin Gerrard, Barclays Bank; Rob Spencer, Town House Design; Robert Ogden, Ogden of Harrogate; Chris Bentley, Hornbeam Park; Richard Wheeldon, Berwins Solicitors; Mark Young, The Ivy; Sandra Doherty, Alexa House; David Bowe, North Yorkshire County Council; Coun Richard Cooper, Harrogate Borough Council; Sgt Alex Sellars, North Yorkshire Police; and Sharon Canavar, Harrogate International Festivals.

The board is now building on the work of the last 12 months, which has seen the launch of the Harrogate Gift Card, supporting Transdev’s highly successful “Sunday Freeway” service, partnering with Harrogate Review and undertaking a series of  marketing initiatives including an “Explore Harrogate” map.

Bob Kennedy said: “Harrogate BID is now one of the key players in ensuring Harrogate town centre continues to be a vibrant and appealing place to shop, eat and drink, not only for residents, but visitors too.

“The new board is more representative of businesses and organisations that make our town centre special, and it’s our job to deliver the benefits that BIDs are achieving across the country.

“I’d personally like to thank all the previous board members for their enthusiasm, drive and vision, which enabled the BID to become a reality.”

Bob added: “One of the most successful initiatives that the BID has supported over the last 12 months is the ‘Sunday Freeway’, which is given the retail sector a real lift at weekends.

“In total, more than 40,000 people travelled with Transdev on Sundays for free across the year – and the destination for the vast majority was the town centre.

“And since we launched the Harrogate Gift Card last November, 334 cards have been purchased with a combined value of more than £17,000 being loaded on to them.

“More than 80 shops and businesses in the town centre already accept the Gift Card, and more are joining this scheme on a weekly basis.

“Our collaboration with Harrogate Review is also helping to further promote the fabulous shops, restaurants, businesses and attractions that makes Harrogate unique. The latest edition, which is distributed to more than 400 high-footfall public venues, is coming out this week.

“On the back of these we have been working on an exciting programme of events and initiatives with plenty of ‘WOW!’ factors. I’m delighted to say we will be unveiling them over the coming weeks.”

New Faces!

Pictured are Harrogate BID chair, Bob Kennedy, and deputy chair, Sara Ferguson