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Chris Aldred appointed Harrogate charter mayor

Thursday, 30 May 2024 11:09

By Thomas Barrett, Local Democracy Reporter

Chris Aldred (left) with last year's mayor Michael Harrison.

Chris Aldred was appointed the second-ever charter mayor for Harrogate at a meeting this morning.

Chris Aldred was appointed the second-ever charter mayor for Harrogate at a meeting this morning.

Mr Aldred is a Liberal Democrat councillor and represents the High Harrogate & Kingsley division on North Yorkshire Council.

The non-political role involves promoting the historic and ceremonial traditions of the Harrogate area during events and occasions.

He follows Conservative councillor Michael Harrison who has been charter mayor for the last year.

Mr Aldred told the meeting the role was good value for money to the taxpayer as it costs 46p a year per household through council tax.

He said:

“I feel humbled and honoured to accept the appointment, hopefully it will only be for one year and we’ll have a proper town council and a proper mayor this time next year.”

The charter mayor role is much-reduced from the former Harrogate Borough Council mayor who attended hundreds of events and functions across the district every year.

By contrast, the charter mayor is expected to attend far fewer meetings with the role being described as ‘mayor-lite’.

The charter mayor is not entitled to expenses such as a chauffeur driven car that the former Harrogate Borough Council mayor could benefit from.

Although the charter mayor is still entitled to wear chains and civic regalia as worn by previous mayors.

If a Harrogate Town Council is created, it will assume responsibility for the mayoral position from North Yorkshire Council should it want it.

It could then decide to allocated more money to a mayoral position that would see its role expanded.

His deputy is fellow Lib Dem councillor Philip Broadbank, who spent time as both mayor and deputy mayor of Harrogate during the 1990s.

Mr Aldred worked in local government across Yorkshire for 23 years in the tourism and arts sectors. He has also worked at Bradford Cathedral, the Army Foundation College & Harrogate Convention Centre.

Last year’s mayor Michael Harrison also addressed charter trustees about his time as mayor. These are the 10 councillors who represent Harrogate.

He said:

“It’s been an enjoyable year. I attended some engagements you’d absolutely expect a charter mayor to attend like Remembrance Sunday, events at Stonefall Cemetery and things involving the military. 

"There were also other occasions like corporate events at the HCC and I recently visited a resident in care home who turned 100.”

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