SCARBOROUGH’S iconic St Nicholas Cliff lift could be given a new lease of life as an open air cafe.
Plans to transform the historic 83-year-old structure have formally been submitted to Scarborough Council.
If they get the go-ahead, the existing lifts would be moved back to the top of the cliff and be made into an indoor dining and seating area.
Food and drinks would be served from a kiosk, while a canopy-covered outdoor seating area and a balcony around the car lifts would also be put in place. A toilet would be built in the lift’s existing winch room.
Scarborough-based architects Hayes and Associates said they had incorporated design features of Victorian and Parisian street cafes to come up with “a simple, elegant, small-scale cafe which embraces its fortunate position”.
Scarborough and District Civic Society led a campaign to save the St Nicholas Cliff lift, after the council said in 2009 that the structure would be completely removed.
The group’s chairman, Adrian Perry, said: “We view this development as positive. It will be an improvement because it’s derelict at the moment. I think the design is sympathetic to the structure that is there. The lift may not be operational but it still celebrates the fact that we had these wonderful things.
“I think it celebrates Scarborough’s heritage of funiculars. This is a way to retain a connection with the past.”
Hayes Associates submitted the plans on behalf of Scalby resident Andrew Atkins.
It is planned that the cafe, which would cover 77 square metres, will open between 7am and 11pm, creating five jobs.
If the cafe proves a success, it could be expanded in future years.
The application said: “The original intention for the scheme was to be much grander on scale and design. However, with the current economic climate it was thought to be too big a risk to take in an unknown market.
“This proposal will establish if there is a demand from the public and may serve to allow a more ambitious development in the future.”
The St Nicholas Cliff lift was closed in 2006 as the council did not have the £450,000 needed to bring it into line with health and safety regulations.
After no private company came forward to run the lift, council chiefs voted to sell it on the condition that the developer removed the lift and landscaped the area.
But at the last minute councillors opted to mothball the lift once again and seek out alternative uses.
The standard consultation period for the cafe plans will expire on February 23.