Green Gables: ‘we’re just testing the waters’

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The owners of a historic Scarborough hotel have said they are just “testing the waters” and have no current plans to demolish it after a planning application was submitted to the council.

The Green Gables in West Bank dates back to 1889 but last week an outline planning application was submitted to Scarborough Council asking for permission to demolish it and replace it with homes and flats.

Julie McGovern, one of the owners of The Green Gables, told the Scarborough News that nothing had been decided.

She said: “We have just put [the application] in to see what happens.

“We are just testing the water.

“We have not put the Green Gables on the market and we are not planning to knock it down. There is nothing really to say at the moment I’m afraid.”

Planning experts estimate that around 23 houses or 39 flats could be built on the land, which also borders Springhill Road.

The potential change of use has met with a mixed reaction from neighbours.

Both letters for and against have been submitted to the council by people living in West Bank.

Of the four letters currently submitted all raise concerns about the increase in traffic on the area.

Angela Lunn wrote: “At present there are not enough parking spaces available on West Bank for the current residences.

“I regularly have to park on an adjoining street due to the fact that there are not enough spaces. This stands in winter as well as summer, so it is not the ‘hotel trade’ that affects this.

“It would not be a sensible option to build more flats unless there are more parking spaces than flats/apartments being built.”

The building was originally built as the Scarborough Hydropathic Establishment by a Professor Wells at a cost of almost £10,000.

It featured Turkish, Russian, electric, vapour and sitz baths treatments.

Mr Wells got into financial difficulties in 1982 and left the business in 1900, with the baths closing four years later.

It was purchased by local businessman Robert C Hopper in the 1920s and remains in his family to this day – Julie McGovern is his great granddaughter.

The building has undergone refurbishments but many of the original designs remains. It still has 90 hotel rooms and is a popular venue with swimmers in the town.

Collin Ellis estate agents said that if the building was marketed as a going concern it would reach a price of above £800,000 given its current use and the fixtures and fittings inside it.