Convention centre could lose £250m and ‘may fail to survive’ without major revamp

Harrogate Convention Centre could lose £250m and “may fail to survive” unless a major redevelopment is carried out, a report has warned.

Owner Harrogate Borough Council has proposed spending up to £49m to update the 40-year-old building.

The report says without the investment the conference centre, which hosted the Eurovision Song Contest in 1982, would “fall behind in the market”.

The BBC said that a report to a meeting of the council’s cabinet next week said the venue could be hit by £250m losses over the next 40 years which would have to be subsidised by taxpayers.

“The redevelopment of the Harrogate Convention Centre (HCC) site offers the only opportunity to modernise facilities, improve connectivity within and replace failing mechanical and electrical systems – and to turn around the financial performance,” the report said.

“HCC plays an important role in the district’s and region’s economy, attracting visitors and significant spend each year.”

It has been estimated that the centre attracts more than 150,000 visitors a year, with an economic impact of more than £35m.

The revamp would see a flexible events space added and upgrades to the venue’s heating and ventilation systems.

Harrogate Council estimates the upgrades would increase the centre’s visitor numbers from 147,000 in 2020 to 192,000 in 2040, with profits of £29m over a 40-year period.