RHS Garden Harlow Carr to redevelop former Harrogate Arms

PUBLISHED: 00:00 26 November 2018

Harrogate Arms is to be renovated Photo: Tim Sandall

Harrogate Arms is to be renovated Photo: Tim Sandall


What next for a former Harrogate spa hotel and public house?

Harlow Carr baths and hotel c 1857Harlow Carr baths and hotel c 1857

Few garden charities can claim to have their own public house but RHS Harlow Carr in Harrogate do. Admittedly it’s been closed for a few years but plans are now being drawn up to restore the Grade II listed building. It’s unlikely the former Harrogate Arms off Crag Lane will reopen as a pub but soundings have been taken from the public for ideas about its future use.

Liz Thwaite, head of RHS Garden Harlow Carr said they had encouraged people to pop down to the garden and see the plans on display near to the main entrance. ‘We’re aiming to keep alterations to the original structure to a minimum in order to preserve its identity and character,’ said Liz. ‘We’re also hoping to build a new extension to sit comfortably with the old building and complement the surrounding landscape. It would be fully integrated into the garden and help to restore the historical connection with the Bath House.

‘Once we’ve gathered people’s views, we’ll review them and submit a planning application to Harrogate Borough Council. The next step for us as a charity will be to start a fundraising and sponsorship campaign to raise the money needed to breathe new life into this historic building and its surrounding landscape.’

The former pub – which together with 1.28 acres of surrounding land was bought by the charity back in 2014 – has been vacant pending behind-the-scenes preparations including structural and ecological surveys and the appointment of architectural, conservation and landscape architects who have drawn up detailed proposals to redevelop the building and surrounding area.

Harrogate Arms in 1930Harrogate Arms in 1930

Harlow Carr owes its existence to the mineral springs in and around Harrogate, which were first discovered in 1571 by William Slingsby. The Harlow Car Hotel (sic) and Bath House were built in 1844 by Henry and Richard Wright who sensed a business opportunity following the discovery of an ‘especially efficacious’ sulphur spring in the area. The hotel was sold to Harrogate Corporation in 1915 and has gone through a number of incarnations since then, as a nightclub, restaurant and latterly a pub.

The two-week public consultation has now ended but proposals for the restoration of the building and surrounding land so far include:

Integrate the buildings back into the landscape by recreating the historic link between the hotel, Bath House and gardens.

Redevelop the original hotel building into a café for Harlow Carr Garden visitors including information on the area’s spa history.

Demolish the later, poor quality additions to the original structure and replace with a new extension to house the kitchen for the café plus toilets

Build a contemporary single-storey extension with glass roof to the north side of the original structure as a new all-weather base for the garden’s horticultural activities programme.

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