The developer behind a multi-million pound all-weather
water park in Scarborough has revealed work is finally due to start.
In an exclusive interview Roland Duce, the man behind the regeneration of the North Bay, told The Scarborough News that ground investigations will begin on Monday.
The work at the site, near the Open Air Theatre, will provide data to aid the design of the attraction that will form part of a £150 million leisure complex.
Mr Duce said he hopes the £14 million water park will be open by June 2014, with construction starting in February.
The water park, which is expected to attract up to half a million visitors a year, is set to include a wave pool, a lazy river and an infinity pool overlooking the North Sea.
The big draw is expected to be a flume know as The Tornado, which will be the biggest of its kind in the country. The latest move follows a meeting in Germany between Mr Duce and Anton Hoefter, whose company Alpamere will be operating the 1,500-capacity water park in Scarborough.
Mr Duce, who bought out Benchmark Leisure in 2010, said: “There is still a lot of work to do and I’m not one to give cheap guarantees but if anyone can bring a great water park to Scarborough it’s me, along with Anton, who is the greatest operator.”
He added: “Rest assured that I wouldn’t have spent hundreds of thousands of pounds getting to this point if I didn’t think I was going to achieve it.”
Mr Hoefter, who is behind some of the world’s leading water parks, said the Scarborough attraction would be built in a traditional European spa style combined with a typical American water park.
He said: ”It will be one of the greatest water parks in the UK when it comes to attractions and will offer a great family experience ranging from kids and to grannies.
“It will be an indoor and outdoor facility that can be used in bad weather and good weather.”
Mr Hoefter said the park would boost employment in the town, with the majority of jobs expected to go to local people.
“This is important for us. At the moment it’s difficult to say how many people we will employ, but it will be a mix of full time and part time jobs,” he said.
He is also confident the development, which has been hit by a string of delays after it was first mooted more than a decade ago, will go ahead as planned.
“Roland has found an excellent site for a water park. We have seen this plan developing for a long time. It has become better and better at every step and we believe now is the time to move forward and we are very confident it will move forward successfully,” he said.
Development of the North Bay has been a work in progress for more than a decade.
Initial plans failed to get off the drawing board and the Sands scheme faltered during the economic downturn.
The water park scheme, which was finally approved by planners last month, includes a restaurant and car park, on the site of the existing Burniston Road car park.
There will also be 29 holiday lodges on the former Kinderland site, and 124 holiday homes at Bay View, formerly Mr Marvel’s.
The existing overspill car park next to Ryndle Crescent will be kept and upgraded with an all-weather surface to provide 309 parking spaces.
Mr Duce, who owns developments across the country, said: “It has taken a bit longer than we might have thought but I want to thank Scarborough Council’s planning department. It would be easier to knock planners but they have been incredibly professional and have investigated every detail. The whole process has been extremely well done at every level.
“It has taken a while to do it but it’s a very big project and it will be worth it. In many ways it’s now better than it was as I have spent the last six months listening to Anton’s input from his experience of running water parks.”
Once the water park is completed, Mr Duce will then build the lodges, which will be log cabins with hot tubs, before starting work on the holiday village on top of the cliff.
“It represents a further investment and commitment in Scarborough,” he said.
Water park development history: