A 21st century attraction which will bring a new lease of life to Scarborough seafront ... or a monstrous addition which is, quite simply, the wrong type of development in the wrong location?
It is safe to say the reaction to the plans for Flamingo Land Coast has been mixed since the designs for the scheme were released two months ago.
A survey on The Scarborough News website received almost 1,500 votes and showed two-thirds of people felt it was out of place for the South Bay.
However, the other 34% said they were excited by the project, which Flamingo Land says will be a ‘cutting-edge and unique attraction’.
The original plans, which were unveiled at the start of February, show a four-storey building on Foreshore Road with space for attractions, education facilities, restaurants and children’s play areas. Another building adjacent to the main area will house a “winter garden” and will also feature a viewing area.
To the rear of the main building, accessed from the roof, is the rollercoaster and a Cliffhanger tower, which will stand 60 metres tall.
A letter sent to The Scarborough News by Gordon Somerville, former head of planning at Scarborough Council, and Christopher Hall, former conservation officer at Scarborough Council, says it is one of the worst proposals in the town for decades.
It says: "Having seen the early plans for the Flamingo Land development on the Futurist site, it has to be said that far from being the “exciting” scheme envisaged by Scarborough Council, it is one of the worst proposals the Planning Department will have seen in decades.
"The people of Scarborough have been so distracted fighting the loss of the dilapidated Futurist Theatre that they haven’t spotted this horror creeping up quietly.
"Too often, we in Scarborough are so desperate for new development or “good news” that we can accept the first developer that comes along and give them the red carpet treatment.
"Developers take advantage of this weakness. Over the years, decision makers in the town have made many mistakes that way. We deserve better.
"The Flamingo Land scheme takes Scarborough back to the “kiss me quick”, amusement and tacky fairground culture of the 1950s. It is a scheme which would not be out of place in 1960s Blackpool or Skegness. As if the eyesore of the Olympia building hasn’t done enough damage.
"A rollercoaster and a 60 metre high tower-ride have no place right in the middle of England’s most attractive resort and will
ruin the much loved panorama of the Castle, Grand Hotel, Spa, harbour and beach. Much of the area is a conservation area with historic buildings.
"Do we really want to take our town backwards and downmarket? Have we not learned from the success of other towns who have moved on to higher quality tourism? The Turner Gallery has brought visitors to down-at-heel Margate.
"During the Renaissance process of 15 years ago, council, tourism and business people agreed that the town needed a different, higher quality image. All of that seems to have been forgotten in the rush to bring in income and sell off sites at any price.
"Please object to the plans. It’s overdevelopment. Rides are not acceptable here. A good quality new building is what we need.
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