Harrogate International Centre faces more redundancies

The management of Harrogate International Centre (HIC) could face having to make another series of staff cuts, according to BBC News.

BBC News says the conference and exhibition centre, owned by Harrogate Borough Council, faces a loss of £2m over the next two years and has already cut 39 out of 90 jobs since July.

It said a further 30 jobs could be cut, with these services outsourced under plans approved by councillors to save another £516,000 a year.

In July CN reported the box office services for the HIC and two other entertainment venues in the town were consolidated in a drive to save £200,000 a year in operating costs. The HIC box office, which sold tickets for the conference centre and the Royal Hall, cost nearly £250,000 to operate in the last financial year, whereas the new consolidated service is expected to cost less than £67,000 for 2011-12, while also providing longer opening hours and reduced booking fees.

At the time no job losses were expected on top of the 39 posts already shed at the HIC to cut costs.

The new job fears come as the HIC confirms its £13m venue expansion scheme will be completed by December. Harrogate broke ground on its two new exhibition halls 18 months ago. When complete, they will increase total capacity by an extra 3,100sqm to 18,500sqm. The top pillar-less hall is 1,620sqm and links directly into the venue’s Hall D and 2,000-seat auditorium. The lower hall directly underneath is 1,480sqm and accessible via a staircase and lift.

Officials told BBC News they expected many of the affected staff would be able to transfer to private operators.

HIC’s Director Angus Houston told CN: “HIC has announced measures that will allow the venue to focus on its core business, which is the delivery of high quality events to clients from around the world. This may mean changes to the structure of the team and its staffing levels.
 
“However, it is vital that HIC remains focused on the delivery of the world class events it has become synonymous with and these changes will allow HIC to maintain its position as a leading events venue; the largest in the North of England. 

“The completion of the new halls represent investment for the long term future of Harrogate and HIC providing additional spaces that will allow us to grow and meet the ever changing needs of event organisers.”
 
Over the course of the last year, HIC has contributed £180m to businesses in the town and surrounding areas.

Any conference-related news? Email sarah@mashmedia.net

Paul Colston

Author

Paul Colston

Managing Editor, Conference News & Conference & Meetings World.

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