Traders object to town hall move

Scarborough Town Hall, St Thomas Street.
Scarborough Town Hall, St Thomas Street.

A FORMAL objection has been submitted against plans to move Scarborough’s town hall function by the town’s Chamber of Trade.

After voicing concerns during the public consultation process Scarborough’s traders have now submitted a letter as a formal ojection to moving town hall staff out of the town centre.

Chris Golder

Chris Golder

The Chamber believes “the life would be sucked out of the town centre” if up to 340 workers are moved to an out of town location, which is one of the proposals being considered by Scarborough Council as it looks at options to mitigate high maintenance costs at the current town hall in St Nicholas Street.

In its formal objection to the proposals, the Chamber says the move would damage the vitality, prosperity and viability of Scarborough’s town centre.

In his letter to Scarborough Council, the Chamber’s chairman, Chris Golder said: “The Chamber acknowledges the need to redevelop the Futurist area and also recognises the tempting nature of the offer currently on the table from the Homes and Community Agency. We also acknowledge that significant investment is needed in the town hall in the future.

“However, it is also clear that significant investment will be needed in the proposed new headquarters for the council, at the former Skipton Building Society offices, to make it fit for purpose as a town hall.

“Scarborough needs to maintain a busy, vibrant town centre for the benefit of both our local population and our visitors.

“It is the Chamber’s firm belief that if the town hall staff are moved to an out-of-town location it will suck the life out of that town centre to the massive detriment of Scarborough.”

In its letter the chamber lists the following four main concerns:

• It would remove 340 people out of the main shopping centre, starving local shops, cafes, restaurants and pubs of this vital trade

• It would move the local seat of democracy to a less accessible location, making it less convenient for local people to play their part in local decision making

• It would take a valuable civic location away from Scarborough town centre, again robbing local shops, pubs, restaurants and cafes of trade from visiting dignitaries and officials

• Such a move flies in the face of national and local efforts to keep local town centres vibrant and economically healthy – as espoused by the Government’s advisor Mary Portas.

Mr Golder added: “It is important that the views of our members are heard, as there are some very strong feelings against this move.

“Above all, it is vital that everyone takes stock of what is proposed here as decisions taken very soon will have far-reaching repercussions for Scarborough for generations to come.”

Scarborough Chamber of Trade has more than 50 members, representing a wide range of shops and businesses in and around Scarborough.

It is currently running a Save Our Shops campaign to encourage people to use their local shops to keep the town centre lively and vibrant.

It also recently called on Scarborough Council and North Yorkshire County Council to suspend parking charges at 3pm each day to encourage people to stay in the town longer.