Theatre waits on listed status plan

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SCARBOROUGH’s historic Futurist Theatre could receive coveted listed status next month.

Government bosses are currently poring over the venue’s application as the campaign to resurrect the building grows in stature.

However, plans to introduce a charitable trust to oversee the running of the theatre remain deadlocked - with efforts to rectify the situation hamstrung by financial constraints and a key decision on land surrounding the Foreshore Road building.

The situation will be discussed by Scarborough Council officials next week.

But Patricia David, who set up an alternative task group alongside Diane Tasker and Colin Bainbridge into the Futurist’s ultimate continuation, said the delays in effecting any changes was frustrating.

She said: “There has been a massive log jam for listing applications and the earliest a decision will be made is next month.

“But English Heritage have been very helpful in finding out what stage the application is at and how long it could take.

“We are all extremely hopeful over listing.”

The theatre was given a two-year reprieve in October last year after a painstaking investigation by Scarborough Council’s Futurist Task Group.

The group’s meetings yielded much debate from eminent figures in the theatre and business domain who gave contrasting views on the logical outcome of the site’s future.

The crux of the outcome laid at the possibility of a charitable trust being set up, mirroring the work of a similar body at Stockport’s Plaza venue, to find and pursue alternative options for the site.

However, Ms David - who played a key role in heralding the Futurist as a key cultural site during the talks - said it would be impossible to build upon that work with a feasible working business plan at the present time.

She said: “We are all in a holding and waiting situation on several counts.

“We have to await the Government legislation to see what it offers relating to the Big Society and the so-called Localism Bill.

“We are also awaiting a decision regarding the strategy for the surrounding land near the Futurist.

“It is no secret that many believe that the way forward to the future prosperity of Scarborough is to develop a state-of- the-art, innovative, creative and interactive tourist attraction.

“There is an overriding need to attract visitors to Scarborough all the year round, and offer something worthwhile to attract them.”

Ms David implored the council to put out a “catch-all-trawler net” planning brief to find out developers’ plans and guaranteed the continue in their efforts to maximise the Futurist’s potential.

She added: “At another more appropriate time when all the present changes have been resolved - and the nation’s and council’s finances have settled down - moves in the direction of a Charitable Trust should be possible.

“We will be constantly working and researching the best possible ways to move forward the Futurist and its future.”