Company that runs Scarborough Spa and Whitby Pavilion to consult on staff redundancies; Scarborough Council in talks about 'easing their pressures'

Scarborough Council will continue to support the operator of the Scarborough Spa and Whitby Pavilion, which has announced it may be laying off staff due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Sheffield City Trust, also known as Sheffield International Venues (SIV), runs the seaside venues on behalf of the borough council.

In March, it had to close these to prevent the spread of coronavirus and has not been allowed to re-open them.

Leisure providers have still not been given permission from the government to reopen, meaning entertainment venues have had to cancel events for the foreseeable future – leaving many, like Sheffield City Trust, struggling to survive.

Scarborough Spa

As a result, Sheffield City Trust (SCT) said last month it was ‘gauging interest’ in redundancies.

Yesterday, it announced it was moving ahead with a consultation on the redundancies of staff and would be “mothballing” some of the venues it operates, which includes more than dozen in Sheffield.

Andrew Snelling, chief executive of SCT, said: “Clearly these are very challenging times for all organisations operating in the leisure and entertainment industry as we await government guidance on how and when we can open our venues.

“Sheffield City Trust runs a variety of facilities across sport, leisure and entertainment. It has become apparent that concerts, shows and large attendance events will not be possible in the short and medium-term, so this leaves us with decisions to make regarding how we sustain venues such as Sheffield Arena and Sheffield City Hall.

“There are also specific issues with some of our sporting facilities, which means it may not be viable to open them safely even after we receive the go-ahead.

“We have written to employees who are affected by the venues they work at being unable to open and explained we have begun a consultation process which may lead to redundancies.

“It is not a decision that has been taken lightly but venues that are generating no income will only need a much-reduced workforce to carry out essential maintenance while they are mothballed awaiting a change in circumstances.”

Scarborough Council confirmed it would continue to pay subsidies to SIV.

A spokesman for the council said: “Like many other venue operators throughout the country, we know that SIV has been adversely affected by the impact of coronavirus.

“While the situation isn’t surprising, it is, understandably, a very worrying time for all concerned, in particular the staff that work at their venues.

“During this time, we have continued to fund subsidy payments to SIV in line with the lease agreement they have with us to operate Scarborough Spa and Whitby Pavilion.

“We have also been in discussions with them, which are ongoing, about what measures might be available to help ease some of the pressures they are facing.”

This week the government announced a £1.57 billion emergency support package to protect entertainment venues.

Cllr David Jeffels, Scarborough Council’s shadow cabinet member for Leisure, said that both the Spa and the Pavilion remaining closed was a “big blow” to the holiday industry.

He added: ” However, once the rules on distancing come to an end and our theatres, Grand Hall, restaurants and ballrooms can once again accommodate both residents and tourists, everything possible must be done to promote our resorts.

“So many jobs are at stake at The Spas - backstage as well as the artistes themselves.

”As a member of the Local Government Association’s Culture and Tourism Board, I have asked that meetings are held with key government ministers to emphasise the importance of our resorts and their facilities being able to operate at full capacity and for funding being made available and expertise used to enable them to do so in safety.”

A message from the editor

Thank you for reading this story on our website. While I have your attention, I also have an important request to make of you.

In order for us to continue to provide high quality and trusted local news on this free-to-read site, I am asking you to also please purchase a copy of our newspaper.

Our journalists are highly trained and our content is independently regulated by IPSO to some of the highest standards in the world. The dramatic events of 2020 are having a major impact on many of our local valued advertisers and consequently the advertising that we receive. We are now more reliant than ever on you helping us to provide you with news by buying a copy of our newspaper.

Thank you

Jean MacQuarrie