THE future of the Harrogate Convention Centre site will be the subject
of a major review being considered by Harrogate Borough Council at a cabinet
meeting next week.
The proposals would see the Council, which owns the Convention Centre,
drawing up a business case for remodelling much of the exhibition space to
create a progressive event complex which could include new accommodation,
retail outlets and leisure facilities on the Kings Road site.
The Royal Hall and Crowne Plaza hotel would not be included in any
Convention Centre director Simon Kent said agreement on developing
the site further would be a ‘positive endorsement in the future of the events
industry in Harrogate’.
He said: “We hope to invite outside organisations to submit ideas.
We need fresh thinking and ambition for Harrogate to remain the home of events in the North of England.
“Essentially we are open to interesting ideas for part of the
site, or even the whole site, with the exception of the historic Royal Hall and newly refurbished Crowne Plaza hotel.
“We will be talking to organisers of regular large exhibitions,
which come to us every year, to ensure those valuable clients keep coming back
to us, as well as building on our successful track record of nurturing smaller
“Harrogate’s visitor economy is vital to the region and we, as a
business, contribute an economic impact of £60million to it annually. If the
plans are given the go-ahead it will be a really positive endorsement in the
future of Harrogate as a national and international event destination.”
Mr Kent said the plans were very much at the ‘ideas stage’ and he hoped
to see a leisure and event offering which would make the Convention Centre an ‘even
bigger driver of Harrogate’s visitor economy’.
The Council will now commission
detailed studies into the requirements of the venue and how best to retain
current business and attract new business.
As a going concern, emphasis would be placed on minimizing
disruption to the Convention Centre’s regular events during any reconstruction
Coun Richard Cooper, Leader of Harrogate Borough Council, said: “This study is about ensuring we not
only retain but grow the millions of pounds pumped annually in to our local economy by the
the conference and exhibition world changes we need to change with them and
make sure we supply the type of venue and facilities event organisers want. In
this way we will stay one step ahead of our competitors and ensure those visitor
economy pounds continue to go into the cash registers of local hotels, guest
houses and shops and supports jobs".