With the 'glorious 12th' just a matter of a few weeks away, Harrogate BID has been busy gearing up for the reopening of non-essential retail and the hospitality sector.
But whilst those in the hospitality industry can only serve customers in outdoor areas, this is nevertheless an important step for the town centre, and indeed the whole country, returning to some form of normality. And as the owner of two, town centre businesses, I for one can't wait!
Welcoming customers back will be a wonderful sight, and in the run up to this much-anticipated occasion we have been busy giving the streets of Harrogate an early spring clean.
We also have some very exciting news - our new BID Manager takes up post in just over a month's time - and in this latest newsletter we are delighted to introduce you to Matthew Chapman.
We also draw your attention to an important night-time safety initiative, and share with you our response to the £7.9m Harrogate Station Gateway project.
Finally, if you have any questions you wish to raise with the BID, please contact the team at email@example.com
Sara Ferguson BID Chair
Harrogate Station Gateway project - our response
In last month's newsletter, we informed you of the background to the £7.9m Harrogate Station Gateway project, and asked you to take part in the consultation process, which closed last week.
Whilst broadly welcoming the investment, and the overall aims of the scheme, we urge caution because with town centre economy being in a fragile state, we need to be confident that the proposed changes will ensure Harrogate can thrive, and prosper, long into the future.
BID cleaning crew takes to the streets for pre re-opening
Our cleaning crew have been ‘washing and weeding’ footpaths in and around Harrogate town centre.
Areas the team from UK Nationwide Cleaning Services have already tackled include East Parade, Tower Street, the ‘One Arch’ pedestrian tunnel and Montpellier.
Harrogate BID Chair Sara Ferguson said: “One of our remits is to build on the day-to-day work undertaken by Harrogate Borough Council’s street cleansing department, and to ensure Harrogate town centre continues to look at its best all year round.
“With Easter almost here, and ‘non-essential’ shops to reopen on Monday, April 12, we want the town to look clean, welcoming and inviting for the long-awaited return of customers, hence this early spring clean."
BID helps promote Commercial Street traders
Retailers on Commercial Street have been given a boost by Harrogate BID - a banner at the top of their road.
Sue Kramer from Crown Jewellers, who is spearheading an awareness-raising campaign for the street - which is home to dozens of independent businesses - asked if the BID could provide an eye catching banner to help lure shoppers to their part of town.
Harrogate BID Chair Sara Ferguson said: "The BID's remit is to draw footfall into the town centre, and promote the fantastic mix of businesses which help make Harrogate the very special place it is. When Sue asked if we could provide a banner for Commercial Street, we readily agreed."
Sue Kramer added: "I'd like to thank Harrogate BID for this banner. Over the last few months, we have launched a dedicated website and social media channels to showcase the wonderful and individual businesses we have here, on Commercial Street.
"The council has given us a new bench for shoppers to sit and rest, have cleaned the high-level road signs, and BID has provided floral displays and now this banner. To say I'm over the moon is an understatement.
“We are now getting ready for reopening on April 12, and this will really help draw attention our way when we are back, open for business.”
Claim your re-opening grants now
Harrogate BID is offering levy payers the opportunity to once again apply for re-opening and improvement grants.
Match funded up to £750, these grants are aimed specifically at those businesses who have been forced to close long term due to the Government's Covid restrictions.
Whilst we can't pay for staff/labour costs, or PPE, we can help pay for everything else, within reason. We know of businesses who are paying for outdoor barriers, gazebos, painting their shopfronts and decorating their interiors.
For further information, and to claim your re-opening grants, please email info@harrogate bid.co.uk
Full details will be posted on our website in the next week.
Restart Business Support Grants from 1 April 2021
The government has confirmed it will provide funding for eligible businesses through a new 'restart grants' scheme . The grants are to help businesses to plan ahead and safely relaunch trading as coronavirus restrictions are lifted.
Qualifying businesses in the non-essential retail sector will receive grants of up to £6,000. Businesses in the hospitality, leisure, accommodation, personal care and gym sectors will receive up to £18,000, depending on the rateable value of their premises.
Whilst the full details of the restart scheme have not yet been published by the government. When further guidance is available, you can find more information here:
Introducing our new BID Manager, Matthew Chapman
Welcome to our new Manager, Matthew Chapman, who joins us on May 1.
Matthew has spent the last six years promoting two major Yorkshire town and city centres, and is the current Huddersfield BID manager.
Harrogate BID Chair Sara Ferguson said: “Matthew was the standout candidate in our recent recruitment drive for a new manager. He brings with him experience of working with two major Yorkshire BIDs.
“We are very much looking forward to working with Matthew as Harrogate comes back to life from COVID-19 lockdown number three. He has some fantastic ideas for promoting Harrogate as a must-visit destination.”
Matthew said: “Harrogate is a fantastic town with so much to offer, and coming here as a regular visitor since my childhood, I know it well.
“Thanks to my roles with both Leeds BID and Huddersfield BID, I’ve gained a great deal of experience working with businesses, councils, tourism bodies and the police. Building teams and working with wider teams is a core strength of mine.
”I’m really looking forward to starting my new job helping to promote Harrogate as a wonderful destination to shop, eat and drink, and to ensure the town centre is clean, safe and welcoming to all.”
His first role with a BID came in 2016, when he was appointed as Leeds BID operations manager. This saw him overseeing the day-to day management of the organisation and supervising its Street Rangers, Welcome Ambassadors and Evening Ambassadors.
In November 2019, Matthew was appointed Huddersfield’s BID manager, where he led on the organisation’s four key aims to increase footfall in the town. This included introducing a dedicated town centre app, interactive trails, street art project and a new destination website.
BID funds new Pubwatch app
Harrogate BID has funded a new app for Harrogate Pubwatch to help in the fight against anti-social behaviour.
With ther hospitality industry reopening from Monday, April 12, Harrogate’s local economy will be looking to use this opportunity to revitalise itself. And it is anticipated that there will be a surge in activity at this time.
PS 1543 Alex Sellars, adviser to the Harrogate BID board, said: "The widespread use of pavement licences has created an opportunity to use Harrogate’s spa town status to create a more café/cosmopolitan style culture, which would promote a family friendly environment later into the evening and thereby enhance trade and commerce.
"However, concerns have been noted nationally that there is the potential for an increase in violence and disorder immediately after the release of lockdown. It is really important that these risks are addressed to ensure Harrogate is recognised as a safe place and enable the local economy to flourish.
"The BID, Pubwatch and Police have been working together to address this issue. Pubwatch, with assistance of BID funding, has greatly improved its ability to share information, through a new app which ensures all scheme members can quickly identify known troublemakers and refuse entry to their premises.
"To assist with promoting this café culture, Pubwatch is opening membership to cafés and other licensed premises.
The police in turn have organised Operation Lipstick. This is a week-long initiative starting on Monday, 12 April, where officers will be tasked with identifying and intercepting signs of disorder at the earliest opportunity.
"Should venues encounter problems with people they have refused entry, they will be supported by police deployed on this initiative. A number of venues use Harrogate Radio Link to provide mutual support, liaise with CCTV and quickly contact police. "
Details of how to apply for this facility are attached to this email.
We are always keen to hear from our levy payers and members, particularly if they have ideas and suggestions which will benefit the town centre environment for residents, visitors, employers and employees alike.
Please contact us on firstname.lastname@example.org
Harrogate Gift Card scheme
Join more than 100 town centre businesses who currenty participate in this scheme, aimed at boosting the local economy. Further information is available from https://harrogategiftcard.co.uk/get-involved/