Developers vie for sports village

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DEVELOPERS bidding to build Scarborough’s long-awaited sports village have met planners to set out their vision for the multi-million pound scheme.

Key meetings have been held between Scarborough Council and the six companies in line to secure the contract to construct a new leisure village and 2,000-capacity football ground on the former Weaponness coach park site.

Representatives from all six firms, the identities of which have not been officially disclosed, gave presentations to senior council officers over two days last week.

The six candidates were chosen from 12 potential developers who had submitted proposals to the council, and a decision will be taken in the autumn to halve the number again to create another shortlist.

It is hoped that the developer chosen to build the leisure village will be announced early next year.

Council leader Tom Fox said the authority had been “extremely impressed” by the presentations given by all six developers.

He added: “This is a huge decision to take, and we are hoping to make an announcement at the end of this year or the beginning of next as to who the successful bidder is.

“This will mark a watershed in sports provision for Scarborough and the surrounding area, and we obviously need to make sure that the most suitable candidate is chosen.” Scarborough FC’s 128-year history ended in June 2007 when it became a casualty of crippling debts of more than £2 million. It is hoped that the new leisure village will be completed within three years and football will be able to return to Scarborough.

The council has voted to demolish the Seamer Road stadium, which has been blighted by vandalism and arson attacks while it has stood derelict since the football club was wound up.

It was announced in April that Featherstone Rovers Rugby League Club had agreed to buy two of the stands from the Seamer Road site and carry out demolition as part of the deal.

The council exercised the right to buy back the Seamer Road site from the liquidators in 2007. But by the time a fair market price of £1.3 million was agreed and paid in December 2008, the Seamer Road ground had suffered so much from theft and vandalism it would have cost £1 million to make it fit for purpose again.

Rather than place a financial burden on the football clubs that would use the stadium and risk them going bust as well, the council decided to re-develop the land and look elsewhere for a site for a new stadium.