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Retailers, hoteliers, solicitors, accountants and leisure industry experts appointed as Harrogate BID directors

Mike Briggs, Michael Constantine, Richard Wheeldon, Andrea Thornborrow, James White, John Fox, Simon Kent, David Ritson and Mark Robson

Independent and national retailers, hoteliers, solicitors, accountants, business leaders and tourism and leisure experts have been appointed directors of the new Harrogate BID (Business Improvement District).

The executive board – headed by John Fox, a former Harrogate Borough Councillor, Mayor and chair of the Harrogate at Christmas Group – have been chosen from a “task group” which helped get the BID off the ground.

Over the next five years, a levy on qualifying town centre businesses will raise more than £3m which will be re-invested by Harrogate BID into promoting Harrogate’s shops, hotels, bars and restaurants to a world-wide audience.

This will be overseen by the BID Manager, Elizabeth Murphy, who will report directly to the ten-strong executive board, when she takes up her position on July 1.

Another part of Elizabeth’s remit will be to work with businesses in delivering real cost savings to them through centrally negotiated services, including insurance, waste and recycling and utilities.

John Fox’s fellow directors on the executive board are: Andrea Thornborrow, manager, Primark; David Ritson, general manager, Old Swan Hotel; James White, centre manager, Victoria Shopping Centre; Mark Robson, manager, Marks and Spencer; Michael Constantine, head of culture, tourism and sport, Harrogate Borough Council; Mike Briggs, partner, Lithgow Perkins Accountants; Richard Wheeldon, senior consultant, Berwins Solicitors; Simon Kent, major projects director, Harrogate Borough Council; and newest member, Suzanne Knowles, owner of Suzetta on Albert Street.

Suzanne was recently appointed to fill the vacancy following the resignation for family reasons of Hazel Barry, Managing Director of H2k.

John Fox, Harrogate BID chairman and interim BID manager, said, “I am really pleased Suzanne has joined the board.

“She represented the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) on the task group and her link and knowledge of small businesses will be invaluable. Her appointment gives the Board a strong retail representation.

“Hazel Barry, the owner of H2k, recently stepped down and I’d like to thank her for all her support and input over the last two years.”

Harrogate BID executive board director Suzanne Knowles said: “I am excited about the possibilities the Harrogate BID can bring to unify the town centre businesses and make it a compelling attraction for all visitors and residents alike.

“Being a business owner in Harrogate for the last ten years, I have lived through numerous changes in the High street. All businesses face challenges but it is within our power to shape these changes to our advantage.

“Harrogate is poised to provide an exceptional offering with a unique balance of high street names and boutique independent businesses.

“Working together with as many people involved as possible we can look forward to a vibrant future.”

John Fox added: “I’m absolutely delighted with the makeup of the new board, which brings together a rich mix of strength and expertise garnered over many years.

“Whilst coming from different walks of life, the directors all have one thing in common – their passion for Harrogate. They were instrumental in setting up the BID, and now it is up and running they are continuing to give their time voluntarily to ensure that the objectives set out in the original business plan are met.

Harrogate BID executive board director Richard Wheeldon said: “I have been closely involved with the BID since its inception in January 2017.

“As a resident of Harrogate for over 25 years, I am passionate about our town. It boasts attractions which other towns can only dream about, but we cannot sit back and expect it to thrive without effort.

“I have high hopes for what we can achieve to make it a destination to enjoy – be that to live, to work or to visit.”

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