A grave warning over the future of Scarborough’s pubs has been issued by councillors passing plans to turn a once popular pub into housing.
Senior Scarborough councillors have warned that they expect to see a dramatic rise in the number of applications to transform struggling boozers over the next few years.
The warning was issued at the Planning and Development Committee meeting at Town Hall on Thursday afternoon, when councillors cautiously approved divisive proposals to renovate The Blacksmith Arms in Cayton.
Cayton Parish Council had echoed concerns by villager’s over the loss of a public house, claiming it would have a “detrimental” effect on the area.
They had wanted it to remain as a pub, claiming that there hadn’t been enough evidence to suggest it wasn’t viable as a pub.
Concerns were aired before and at the meeting about the impact the plans could have on access to the St John the Baptist Church in the vilage.
But planning officer Rob Harrison said allowing the closed pub to be developed wouldn’t “hurt the community”.
Councillors also heard how bosses had attempted an exhaustive list of techniques to try and drum up business at the pub.
One set of holidaymaker’s even left a £30 tip for a £90 meal, after being perplexed by the lack of business at the venue.
Although he ultimately abstained from the vote, Cayton ward councillor John Blackburn said the council faced having a “derelict” building on their hands within a year if they didn’t back plans - although he joked he would be “lynched” in his home village for his views.
“If the people of Cayton really wanted to retain the pub, they would be here today,” said Cllr Blackburn to the largely empty public gallery.
And Cllr Eric Broadbent added: “I just see this as a sign of the times and of the economic climate.
“I can see a lot more closing in the next few years.”