The developer behind a £100m regeneration project in Scarborough fears it could be the “end of the dream” if the council refuses to stump up the cash towards a multi-million pound waterpark.
A crunch meeting at the town hall on Monday will see councillors decide whether to put forward roughly £10m towards the £15m scheme – the equivalent of around 66 per cent.
If the authority votes against the move, the attraction will not be built and future plans for the redevelopment of the North Bay, including a holiday village and a hotel, will be scrapped. It comes after banks refused to back the development without a solid guarantee from the council due to the economic climate.
Roland Duce, the man behind the regeneration of the North Bay, said: “It will either start happening on Monday or it won’t. It’s too close to call at this point – they could vote against it. In which case that’s the end of the dream, not only for the waterpark, but the other dreams, like the holiday village and the hotel on the Atlantis site.
“All of that will crash if they decide they don’t want to support this.
“There are some wonderful things to come at North Bay but it all depends on this. There is no plan B. If councillors vote against this, a new developer will have to be found.”
As a demonstration of confidence in the scheme, the developer has offered to pour in £5m of his own money and guarantees for future revenue streams, of which he will reap no profit until the further stages of the development are built until the council loan has been repaid.
He said: “It’s difficult for the council as it is having to cut money here. But if we are going to do positive schemes like this to move Scarborough up, now is the time to be investing.
“It’s not easy for us either. We are finding it harder to put money together but I do believe it is the time to make a long term investment.”
If the council decides to borrow the cash from central Government and put the money forward, Mr Duce said there would financial benefits for the authority, including:
l A guaranteed income stream from the waterpark covering the interest “three-fold” which would reduce the debt
l A £5m package from further land sales
l Ownership of the waterpark, which it will be able to sell back to Benchmark in the future.
l As a further bonus to the region as a whole, the waterpark is expected to generate £1.5m in jobs for years to come.
Mr Duce has estimated how much revenue the waterpark will bring in based on a similar-sized attraction in Blackpool.
He said: “We are looking at the waterpark attracting a £5m income each year, which we expect will plough around £10m a year into Scarborough’s economy. We are also planning to put eight per cent of the turnover back into a fund so every two years we can refurbish the park and add new attractions.”
The 2,500-capacity waterpark will be operated by German company Alpamare, which successfully runs four attractions in Europe, including one in Ticino, Switzerland, which will be similar to Scarborough’s development.
“The council needs to bear in mind the risk I’m taking. At the end of the day, it’s my money and I’m prepared to commit. This is precisely the time to be making an investment for the long term,” said Mr Duce.