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Transport to come under spotlight at business meeting

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The transport challenges facing local businesses will be debated at the next meeting of Harrogate District Chamber of Commerce.

The event comes as authorities across Yorkshire strive to ensure vital upgrades to local and regional networks are carried out, in the face of a growing imbalance of investment compared to London.

Leeds Bradford Airport, Virgin Trains, Northern Trains and the Harrogate Bus Company have all been invited to share their latest news and plans for the future. There will also be an opportunity for audience members to ask questions and debate the issues raised.

Chamber chief executive Sandra Doherty said: “Transport is a growing concern for many businesses in the Harrogate district.

“Promised government investment and upgrades have been put on hold, which leaves a great deal of uncertainty for our area. In particular, Harrogate’s economy is heavily reliant on the success of Harrogate Convention Centre, which in turn needs the town to be well connected in order to attract major events.

“Equally, many local companies rely on staff being able to travel in from elsewhere, or on having easy access to other towns and cities to visit their clients. There are few businesses which aren’t affected by the current state of local transport which is why this meeting is so important.”

The speakers at the meeting are:

David Laws, chief executive, Leeds Bradford Airport “Update on growth and development at Leeds Bradford Airport”. He will give details of how the airport is improving customer experience, updates to the terminal and to its routes, and plans for connections via road and rail.

Alex Hornby, chief executive officer, Transdev Blazefield / Harrogate Bus Company:“Creating buses that people want to be seen on”. His presentation will cover how the company is aiming to create the UK’s first 100 per cent electric town bus network in Harrogate, along with new technology for customer use.

Rob Warnes, performance and planning director, Northern Rail

Paul Smith, commercial manager – Central Area, Virgin Trains East Coast

The meeting has been organised by the chamber’s transport spokesman, Brian Dunsby.

He said: “Road, rail and air transport around Harrogate have all been in the headlines over the last few months. This meeting is an opportunity to hear direct from those in charge about their plans for the future, and to ensure the voice of local businesses is heard so their needs can be met.”

The open meeting will be held at the Majestic Hotel, Ripon Road, Harrogate on Monday, September 11. Networking begins at 5.30pm, with the meeting starting at 6.15pm.

Attendance is free for members and first-time visitors, but places need to be booked in advance via the website,www.harrogatechamber.co.uk. Any repeat visitors can attend for £15 per person.

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