New lease of life for former club?

Scenesetter'The Mere Social Club on Seamer Road'Picture by Neil Silk  114142'11/10/11
Scenesetter'The Mere Social Club on Seamer Road'Picture by Neil Silk 114142'11/10/11

DEVELOPERS aiming to transform a neglected former social club in Seamer Road are still locked in negotiations with various organisations to bring a new lease of life to the building.

The Mere Social Club has stood empty since it closed in July 2008 after running up debts totalling thousands of pounds.

But Scarborough-based developer Gary Ledden, who now owns the property, said that negotiations were still ongoing. He added: “We are in discussions with a number of retailers but nothing has advanced at this stage.”

Last year Mr Ledden revealed that plans had been submitted to Scarborough Council to turn it into a restaurant – a move which could create 35 badly needed new jobs for the area.

And in 2009 he told the Evening News that two national restaurant chains had shown interest in the site.

At the time fast food giant McDonalds was said to be interested in the site but a spokesman denied the rumour and said there were “no current plans for this particular site in Scarborough”.

The club was formed in 1937 and in its heyday had a membership of more than 1,300 – but that figure had dwindled significantly.

For many years it boasted one of the best club concert rooms in the area which seated 250 people, had its own bar and was constantly in demand from organisations who wanted it to host their own events.

The club started life as the Waddingtons Works Club and became affiliated to the Working Men’s Club and Institute Union (CUI) in 1937.

Waddingtons was a Scarborough firm of piano manufacturers and a section of the club was part of the old piano factory.

Between the 1950s and 1970s membership included hundreds of workers from coach builders Plaxton which had its factory next door on the site where B&Q and Halfords now stand.

When Plaxtons moved its operations out to Eastfield in the early 1980s the club’s membership started to fall and in 1992 committee members put an advert in the Evening News to dispel rumours that the club was about to close.