Due to the unprecedented weather being experienced all over the country BIGGA felt it important to speak with partners who are as keen as BIGGA to ensure the success of Harrogate Week and reassure visitors that measures are in place to make their visit as safe and enjoyable as possible.
During the height of the adverse weather Harrogate town and Harrogate International Centre have been kept snow free and safe, thanks to the efforts of Harrogate Borough Council which has been holding emergency planning meetings each morning to assess conditions, chaired by Chief Executive, Wallace Sampson.
The Council has had a team of team of 70 staff working in shifts around the clock to ensure priority routes and main roads are clear, gritted and safe. Footway tractors and staff with hand diggers have also been clearing footpaths in the town centre and around the Exhibition Centre.
"The main roads and footpaths in the town centre remain our priority. I am pleased to add that Harrogate has been pretty much kept open during this prolonged period of extreme weather. Buses and trains have been running with limited disruption and our Priority 1 and Priority 2 main roads and footways are all in good condition. We have an excellent team of staff who have been working round the clock to keep on top of the situation," said Councillor Don Mackenzie, Cabinet Member for Planning and Transport.
"Harrogate's Conference and Exhibition business is fundamental to and vital for the prosperity of the district and we are determined to ensure that all events proceed with the absolute minimum of disruption and inconvenience to both organisers and their customers, visitors and delegates," said Councillor Mackenzie.
That commitment has been matched by Harrogate International Centre, whose Deputy Director, Simon Kent, added: "Our plans for this time of the year always include a poor weather contingency. We have excellent support from the council who understand the importance of safety and of taking good care of our visitors."
The Harrogate Week Park & Ride Service, introduced in 2006, has benefited so many day and overnight visitors, and this will certainly come into its own if snow and ice is still in place during the days of the Show.
"As the company managing the facility we will do everything to make sure visitors and exhibitors are fully looked after," said Jonathan Robson, of Connect, the company which runs the service.
"We have professional marshals manning the car park and will be there for anyone who requires assistance and to make sure everyone gets home quickly and safely. There will be a marquee in place for shelter should there be rain or snow fall.
"Visitors can leave their vehicles free of charge all day in the knowledge they are been supervised in a purpose built car park area. The coaches run constantly throughout the day so on arriving to the car park they can be assured that they will be taken direct to the exhibition in a comfortable warm coach with no need to find a parking space, battle through traffic or indeed pay the parking.
The coaches are all kitted out with winter packs and are not too troubled by adverse weather conditions as they are regularly taken to wintery ski destinations and they are driven by professional drivers with vast experience in all driving conditions," explained Jonathan.
BIGGA Chief Executive, John Pemberton, is delighted that everyone is pulling together to ensure the success of Harrogate Week.
"We are an indoor event but, as organisers, we have always been aware that January weather could have an impact on our success. I am delighted that, in these extreme conditions, so much work has been done by Harrogate Borough Council, HIC, Connect working in partnership with BIGGA to keep everything running smoothly," said John.