Councillors call in decision on Futurist theatre

Independent councillors Amanda Robinson, Janet Jefferson, Peter Popple and Roxanne Murphy pictured outside the Futurist. Picture Richard Ponter 133018

Independent councillors Amanda Robinson, Janet Jefferson, Peter Popple and Roxanne Murphy pictured outside the Futurist. Picture Richard Ponter 133018

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A decision which saw Scarborough Council’s cabinet agree that the town’s Futurist theatre is “unsustainable” and should be redeveloped has been called in by councillors.

The independent group wants the authority and the Homes and Community Agency (HCA), which jointly own the site, to set up a restoration fund in a bid to encourage investors and developers to come forward.

They believe a report by a consultancy firm hired by the council, which concluded that the building is ”beyond the point” of refurbishment, failed to take into account the number of tourists that make up the theatre’s audience.

Fears have also been raised that the there will be a major impact on the tourism economy if the 92-year-old theatre is not retained or restored.

Independent Cllr Janet Jefferson said: “We have been trying to support it and keep it going for many years because of what it brings to the town and the borough.

“The HCA is investing £3 million towards a regeneration project and we are hoping some of the money will be used for the restoration of the Futurist.

“I worked in the construction industry for 16 years and to me nothing is unrestorable. “The effect it would have on the economy is immeasurable.”

Last week Cabinet members pledged to keep the Futurist open until a developer comes forward for the site, which is part of a wider area earmarked for regeneration.

A spokesperson for Scarborough Council said: “The decision regarding the town hall and wider development site taken at Cabinet last week has been subject to a call in. The call in is asking for council officers to meet with the Homes and Community Agency to negotiate the use of the £3 million to start a ‘restoration fund/trust’ for the Futurist theatre, which it is felt would encourage further interest in the Town Hall and wider development site from investors and developers.

“The original decision will now be considered by the Health and Wellbeing Scrutiny Committee on Wednesday, July 31, taking into account the arguments included in the call in.”