Scarborough Borough Council has put the site of the Futurist theatre up for sale after claims that graves were located on the plot of land have been proved unfounded.
Previous research conducted by supporters of the Futurist suggested that a concrete slab on a terrace to the rear of the theatre may mark the position of the final resting place of Thomas Alfred Fox, a brother of Will Catlin, who was the former founder and owner of the Futurist. However, results from exploratory excavations around and underneath the concrete slab, carried out in May by a specialist, independent contractor, show only “made ground”, comprising of black-brown sandy silt and pieces of brick, plastic and metal.
Beneath this, contractors found a series of large sandstone blocks, which appear to form a stepped structure.
It is believed that this structure forms part of the foundation for the adjacent retaining wall lying immediately west and south of the concrete slab and could also have been a former series of steps.
Contractors didn’t find any indication of human remains below the concrete slab.
Although it was not possible to expose the entire area below the slab, due to a covenant attached to it that restricts its removal, the contractors consider it highly unlikely that a burial dating from the early 20th century is located there.
The stepped structure encountered beneath the slab, reduces the area where a body could have been laid to a very small area.
Further evidence shows that the sandstone blocks exposed within the excavation pit predate the upper brick-built section of the terrace retaining wall, which was likely constructed at the same time as the Futurist Theatre.
Nick Edwards, Scarborough Borough Council Director of Business Support said: “Based on the contractor’s detailed explorations and subsequent findings, we are as satisfied as we can be that no human remains are buried below the concrete slab.
“We have shared the contractor’s final report with the granddaughter of the Catlin family and hope that it brings her peace of mind and a conclusion to the uncertainty that has surrounded the area in recent months.
“We are now looking forward to seeing what proposals come forward from developers interested in regenerating the site. This is a chance to create something truly innovative and exciting for the South Bay that will reflect both the council’s and local community’s aspirations for the future of Scarborough as a first class destination.”
Full details of the tender opportunity can be found at www.scarborough.gov.uk/futurist.
The closing date for developers to express their interest to the council and submit proposals is 15 August 2014, after which time a detailed assessment of each proposal received will be carried in preparation for reporting to councillors.