Harrogate Borough Council is seeking a masterplanner for a mixed-use redevelopment of its landmark convention centre
The multidisciplinary team chosen for the £100,000 contract will explore a range of redevelopment options and produce a business case for the prominent town centre site, currently home to a 2,000-seat main auditorium, exhibition halls and the historic Royal Hall.
The project will see large parts of the site redeveloped for a range of uses while the convention centre itself – which has suffered from increased competition since the 2008 financial crisis – is expected to be reconfigured into a smaller 6,000m² multipurpose hall with additional ‘break out’ space.
According to the brief: ‘The comprehensive redevelopment of Harrogate Convention Centre site offers the potential to deliver an exciting and major transformation for Harrogate town centre. It presents a unique opportunity for the council to use its land assets to support a high-quality convention centre, promote a strong local economy, and create a long-term revenue income for the council to help achieve its objectives of self-sufficiency.
‘The business case should include a full options analysis of a minimum of three additional scenarios, which must recognise the future needs of the convention centre and consider what complementary uses could be developed on the residual part of the site. This might include business, residential, retail, hotel and leisure, food and drink, higher education, parking, etc.’
The Harrogate Convention Centre occupies the site of the former Spa Rooms which became a major venue for business events during the early 20th century. After the Second World War, as the events industry grew, the site was redeveloped to feature a range of auditoriums, exhibition halls and a hotel while the historic Royal Hall was retained.
The largest addition in the complex’s history was the creation of the 2,000-capacity main auditorium (pictured) which hosted the Eurovision Song Contest in 1982.
The latest project follows a radical rethink of the 13,700m² convention centre’s site, commercial focus and core objectives amid increased competition within the UK’s £35 billion events sector.
The winning team will evaluate whether the council should redevelop the site, and what uses could be placed on the residual areas freed up by reconfiguring the convention centre.
The redevelopment will exclude both the restored Royal Hall and the newly refurbished Crowne Plaza hotel, located at either end of the Kings Road site.
The study will consider financial viability, development options, the likelihood of winning planning permission, the development cost and funding options. A separate report specifying the future operational requirements of the convention centre itself will be completed next month and made available to the chosen team.
The deadline for applications is midday, 13 November.
How to apply
View the contract notice for more information
Harrogate Borough Council