Residents’ final say on sports village

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THE final public meeting regarding Scarborough’s proposed sports village has taken place as the consultation period nears its end.

Scarborough Council has been in discussions with the public over its plans to build a sports village and 2,000-capacity football stadium on the Weaponness Valley coach park.

Following a series of exhibitions and meetings, the last public debate was held by the Town Team ahead of the consultation expiry date on August 8.

Up to 40 residents attended the meeting, at the Royal Hotel, where they were talked through the plans by council officials before airing their views.

Scarborough Council’s head of tourism and culture Brian Bennett explained how the authority was looking to find a developer to create the sports village on the Weaponness site.

In return the developer will then be given the opportunity to build on, and make profit from, the Seamer Road stadium site, and the Filey Road sports centre site, both owned by the council.

Mr Bennett said: “To have all the sports facilities on site will reduce revenue costs and improve viability.

“What the council are looking at is to utilise its land bank to develop a leisure village on one site.”

Mr Bennett said the council has shortlisted six potential companies to take the plans forward.

It is proposed that once the sports village has been created the former Scarborough FC ground will be used for housing, with the possibility of community and commercial facilities.

The Filey Road sports centre will also be developed for housing, though with the retention and refurbishment of the old tennis grandstand and pavilion.

Following the presentation residents raised concerns about the proposals.

Worries arose surrounding safety in terms of gas pipes, which some residents believe are corroded, and contamination from the site’s previous industrial uses.

Planning manager Jill Lowe said: “Just because a site has been contaminated by previous industrial uses that does not mean it can never be developed again.”

She confirmed the council would put in place conditions ensuring developers clear the site and make it safe.

Concerns were also raised about the proposed football stadium, and the use of an artificial surface.

Mr Bennett stated the pitch surface had been approved by the Football Association, but would not be able to be used for FA Cup matches.

While Mr Bennett said he had been in discussions with Scarborough’s football teams, and that they were happy with the arrangements, residents argued they had not met anyone who agreed with having an artificial surface.

Many of those at the meeting feared people would not go to games, and that the 2,000-capacity stadium would not be big enough should any of Scarborough’s teams progress through the divisions.

One resident asked why the council can’t sell the Seamer Road and Filey Road sites first, and then develop the Weaponness site, stating: “It seems to me you are going shopping without any money.”

Mr Bennett said: “The council are trying to do this with no capital input other than land values.”

Residents also raised concerns about traffic congestion and accessibility, particularly from the proposed Seamer Road housing, and the effects the sports village will have on Ashburn Road.

There were also worries about parking, light and noise pollution, and the inclusion of facilities for children.

Findings from the public consultation, including the Town Team meeting, will be presented to council scrutiny committees in September, and will go before full council in November.

The council expects a formal planning application for the development will be submitted in late 2012/ early 2013.