Amended Futurist plan is out

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Councillors are set to consider an amended document which outlines possible development of the Futurist Theatre and the surrounding area.

The development brief for the historic theatre and Town Hall was due to be adopted last month but the decision had to be deferred when councillors decided to keep Scarborough Council’s base in the town centre.

Members of the council’s Planning Committee are due to review the new document next Thursday and it is expected to be formally adopted by Full Council next month.

In a report by Hugh Smith, the council’s major projects officer, he said it would offer clear planning guidance to potential developers which would help regenerate a key town centre site which is largely owned by the council.

He added: “Failure to agree a development brief could limit the range of planning benefits secured. If the requirements of the development brief are too onerous this could hinder regeneration.

“Negative environmental consequences could occur if sites are developed without policy guidelines/parameters. Economic circumstances or lack of developer interest prevent redevelopment or result in blight.”

The document covers an area of land which includes the Futurist Theatre and the Town Hall as well as a number of nearby areas – most notably in King Street.

A number of possible layouts have been included in the development brief and Mr Smith said: “The four illustrative options were devised to demonstrate that, despite the complexity of the site, there are a range of potential solutions which could broadly comply with planning policies and principles. Nonetheless, each scheme emphasised different priorities.

“Inevitably, whatever design solution is ultimately found, there will be advantages and disadvantages; in part, the relative merits depend on what aspects of the scheme are considered to be most important.

“The brief is also careful to emphasise other solutions may be found or different aspects amalgamated.

“The four layouts are now firmly embedded in the section on urban design and are no longer accompanied by individual use plans, helping to reduce the perception that the brief is too prescriptive.”

Previously it has been suggested that the historic South Bay theatre could be transformed into a hotel, with panoramic viewing platforms and a new “street leading to the sea” could be created through the area.

Mr Smith added: “Although it was subject of a separate consultation/decision-making process, there were still a considerable number of negative comments on the Town Hall relocation.

“The council decision addresses this point but, as can be seen from the tracked changes in the latest appended version of the brief, there have been some amendments to recognise the changed circumstances.

“Some of the changes to the brief are merely descriptive, to provide accurate background information.

“However, the brief now makes a greater distinction between the core part of the site, where the general emphasis is on redevelopment, and two Heritage Setting Areas which comprise the listed buildings on site – namely the original Town Hall and York House.”

Thursday’s meeting is due to start at 9.30am.