Letter: Sad decision to destroy architecture on Constitutional Club

Sad decision by planners despite opposition from the conservation officer and Scarborough Civic Society.
Sad decision by planners despite opposition from the conservation officer and Scarborough Civic Society.

Your report on the sad decision to destroy the former Constitutional Club on Huntriss Row:

In this case the planning committee has gone along with the recommendation of council’s planning officers despite the opposition of the conservation officer and Scarborough Civic Society.

As an immigrant from the West Riding, I have seen this all before with the wrecking ball being taken to hundreds of fine buildings in the 1960s and 70s. More recently, our northern cities have taken greater care to retain survivors of the quality of the former Con Club. Some are still pulled down, but only after someone has gone to the trouble of setting fire to them first.

Two years ago Scarborough’s docile planners were the cheerleaders for a half-baked scheme put forward by Enterprise Inns to convert the historic White Swan Hotel in Hunmanby into housing units. In this case the pub was saved by local opposition.

Our councillors showed some backbone and the plans were thrown out. The Swan is again a busy pub under new ownership and with a secure future after some long overdue investment.

It is therefore disappointing to see another large corporation – Whitbread this time – come along with another damaging proposal and then for our planners to revert to their default position of rolling onto their backs and waggling their legs in the air.

People come to visit Scarborough for the same reason they go to places like York and Beverley - to enjoy a well cared for tourist environment featuring shops and restaurants housed in buildings like those on Huntriss Row – built with some style and panache in another era.

This street stands out with an eclectic mix of Victorian and Edwardian buildings and is unusual (until now) in not having the jarring insertion of a bland red-brick wall plotted on a computer to house a Tesco Express - or Premier Inn.

Perhaps nothing should be allowed to stand in the way of development. However, development means different things to different people: to the philistines in planning and the nodding donkeys on the council it seems always to be a positive thing; for lots of us it involves seeing something nice getting spoiled.

Paul Riley

St Helen’s Lane, Reighton