PARKLAND next to one of Scarborough’s most historic buildings will be preserved after proposed changes to its planning guidelines were officially withdrawn yesterday.
Planning officials had hoped that Londesborough Lodge would prove more attractive to developers if restrictions on the land use were eased – but Scarborough Council’s Planning Committee refused to back the move at a meeting in August and the matter was deferred.
Hugh Smith, the council’s major projects officer, told members at yesterday’s meeting that the matter had been withdrawn and the guidance would revert back to the original documentation.
He said: “In light of discussions at that meeting it has been decided that it’s no longer proposed to proceed with the planning and design guidance. It’s still the intention to market Londesborough Lodge. The previous guidance will still be applicable.”
Cllr Brian Watson said it was a case of “buyer beware” because developers could propose schemes which were not possible under the existing guidance.
Previously it was reported that Cllr Colin Challen was preparing a plan to bring the empty building back into use by finding suitable tenants on a room-by-room basis.
Cllr Challen was concerned that residents and visitors would lose a public right of way.
The lodge, in The Crescent, was originally put up for sale by Scarborough Council in 2009 but the move was put on hold last November because of the worldwide economic crisis.
The property has be-come the focus for antisocial behaviour and lead thieves because the secluded land around the building provides the perfect hiding place.
The Grade II listed building was built in the 1830s and was later enlarged by the Earl of Londesborough in 1853.
One of his most impressive guests was King Edward VII, who stayed in The Crescent in 1871. At that time, the nearby footbridge over Vernon Road offered private access to the Spa Bridge and Scarborough Spa.
Scarborough Corporation bought it in 1925 for £6,000 and four years later, the Corporation’s municipal Turkish, Russian and Electro Medical Baths were open for the next 44 years.
It was later used as the council’s tourism and leisure department, then HQ for Yorkshire Coast Homes and has stood empty since both Scarborough Museums Trust and Radio York both moved out so that the lease could be sold.
It has previously been offered for sale by informal tender with a guide price of £500,000.