Futurist slab: The question remains - what lies beneath?

Re your article ‘Grave concern fails to delay Futurist sale’ (Scarborough News, June 26). As you published my letter headed ‘Slab is likely to cover a grave’ (June 5) I wish to take issue with some of Scarborough Borough Council’s comments.

The article states “investigations proved there is no grave behind the theatre...”, and “...results from exploratory excavations around and underneath the slab have proved these claims unfounded.”

The bases, on which claims of a distinct possibility of a grave were made, do not appear to have been disproved. Although I have not got access to the full report I have it on good authority that the protective slab has not been removed, This is implied in their fuller press statement on The Scarborough News web page “...it was not possible to expose the entire area below the slab due to a covenant attached to it that restricts its removal”.

The covenant was made between Scarborough Corporation (when they were purchasing the adjacent site in 1961) and the Catlin Company. The Catlin Company no longer exists and Scarborough Council now own both sites so they can give themselves permission: The great granddaughter of Will Catlin, who is the family representative, has said that, if approved, she would have no objection to the lifting of the slab.

The web statement says that “a series of large sandstone blocks, which appear to form a stepped structure, were found.

“It is believed this forms part of the foundation of the adjacent wall and could have been a former series of steps.”

Frank Tugwell, the Futurist architect, spent the first six months of the year it was built, June 1920 - June 1921, on preparations of the foundations. Copies of his plans and correspondence show the ground to be thoroughly excavated and rebuilt, nothing to support this belief. The covenant does however refer to a flight of steps, clause 3 page 4 “...to be constructed by the Company from the slab” [This in 1961]

The question still remains unanswered by the council investigation as to what lies beneath the slab? What was so important to the Catlin Company that they had a covenant drawn up? Clause 2b page 3 “The Corporation will not, except with the consent in writing of the Company, disturb the concrete slab adjoining the property.”

To reiterate what I wrote in my previous letter, the covenant proves that the slab is significant. The council investigation has not answered this so is therefore inconclusive and cannot be said to have proved there is no grave.

The matter needs to be resolved before the Futurist is sold as the Property Ombudsman recently upheld a complaint with the decision that graveyards on properties must be disclosed.

Diana Tasker

Weaponness Valley Close

Scarborough