Buzz People

Harrogate: What happened when the shops left town

Cream teas, quaint streets and stylish shops have made Harrogate one of the most successful and popular shopping destinations in the north of England.
But there are now gaps on its High Street like never before.
"Five years ago it would be unheard of to have large empty units on James Street, the prime shopping street in our town. Businesses were fighting to get into these units," says Robert Ogden, who jointly runs a family jewellery business on the street.
This attractive spa town has weathered the huge changes taking place in retail better than most places.
But in the past two years it's seen a succession of big name chains pull out, such as Topman, Miss Selfridge, Cath Kidston, Prezzo and Jamie's Italian.
Many have been the result of restructuring deals known as company voluntary arrangements (CVA).
They're a form of insolvency proceedings which struggling businesses can enter into with their creditors - including landlords and suppliers - to cut costs.
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