Published: Thursday, 24th August 2017

Jake Berry MP, Minister for the Northern Powerhouse and Local Growth, has visited Harrogate Borough Council's new Civic Centre which is nearing completion.

The tour was part of a visit to find out about future developments aimed at driving the economic prosperity of the area.

During his visit the Minister was updated on plans for the Station Gateway Project, which aims to provide a development that will be a catalyst for business growth, urban living and retail opportunities. The scheme also aims to create high quality transport links, including a modern rail interchange which also incorporates buses, cycling, walking, and private cars. The transport element of the scheme has been indicatively allocated £1 million in growth deal funding from the York, North Yorkshire and East Riding Enterprise Partnership.

The Minister also learnt of redevelopment plans for the Harrogate Convention Centre, which if approved following the development of a business case, would see it become an ‘event complex’, possibly incorporating accommodation, retail outlets and leisure facilities.

The Minister's visit to Harrogate ended with a tour of the council's new Civic Centre, which sees five old offices and portacabins replaced by a modern, environmentally efficient, ‘one stop’ customer focused building which will deliver operating benefits and financial savings of around £1 million a year.

The Minister was shown round the new building, which will be operational from the autumn, and briefed about the district's economic growth strategy and future development plans by Councillor Richard Cooper; Leader of Harrogate Borough Council; the council's Chief Executive Wallace Sampson; and it's Director of Economy and Culture, Trevor Watson.

Councillor Richard Cooper said: "A strong local economy is one of our four priorities and this was a great opportunity to show the Minister some of the ambitious plans we have to create a more sustainable economy delivering the jobs, transport and housing we need.

“It was useful to discuss opportunities for devolution with the Minister. This council stands committed to working across the region building the basis for continued economic growth. This partnership - hopefully through an imaginative and comprehensive devolution deal - will deliver better transport links and better broadband among many other aspects that will stimulate the regional and local economy."

Northern Powerhouse Minister Jake Berry said: "The Northern Powerhouse is about economic growth and creating jobs. Rural areas have a vital role to play and today I heard about Harrogate Borough Council's plans to boost growth in the area. Harrogate is already home to a number of thriving businesses and I welcome the council's commitment to creating a truly sustainable economy."