Leaders in the spotlight for Question Time

Question Time at the Library  112436d
Question Time at the Library 112436d

A PROLIFERATION of windfarm developments, the Futurist Theatre and a proposed town centre Tesco proved to be hot topics at a Question Time-style event in Scarborough Library.

It was organised by the Scarborough Urban Area Forum and senior figures from Scarborough Council, North Yorkshire County Council, Scarborough Hospital, North Yorkshire Police and NHS North Yorkshire and York answered submitted questions from the audience.

Question Time at the Library Guests listen picture Richard Ponter   112436b 15/06/11

Question Time at the Library Guests listen picture Richard Ponter 112436b 15/06/11

Bob Alders, from the No To Windfarms pressure group, who raised concerns about the number of planning applications for large-scale windfarm developments and claimed they were “out of place”.

Hilary Jones, a strategic director with Scarborough Council, said that there were planning policies in place which dealt specifically with renewable energy.

She said: “The Local Development Framework will have criteria in place to balance competing planning areas.

“The planning applications have generally been small-scale single turbines which are generally on farms.

“Depending on the scale of the developments there always has to be an impact assessment. Each one is considered on its merit.”

But a fellow campaign group member claimed that planning policy was “developed on the hoof” and planning officers were not properly trained or did not have a full grasp of the issues.

Ms Jones denied the claims and said: “I think our planning department does understand the difference between offshore and onshore windfarms. I’d still defend our planning department.”

One of the younger audience members – Charlie Woodhead from the Graham Raincliffe Federation – asked what the council planned for various sites including the Futurist.

Ms Oliver said that there was a comprehensive review into the Futurist, and the immediate area, undertaken last year by one of the council’s scrutiny committees.

She said: “The review raised concerns about how attractive it could be for a developer to come in and put some funding into that site.”

But she added that they were still waiting to receive a proposed business plan from a charitable trust which were interested in running the seafront theatre and no decision was due to be taken until October.

But Patricia David, who is leading a bid to protect the historic building by getting it listed, said the council’s planning department was “on a different planet”.

She added: “We could have spent a lot of money coming up with a business plan. We’ve got to wait until English Heritage and the Department of Culture decide if it’s a listed building.”

Neil Price asked whether road use changes relating to a proposed Tesco development on a site in Dean Road raised concerns for emergency services.

Javad Ali, Scarborough’s Chief Superintendent, said: “It won’t affect our response times to the public.”

James Hayward, the director of facilities at Scarborough Hospital, said there might be concerns over delays for the ambulance service. He added: “The ambulance drivers might flash their blue lights to get to the scene quickly.”

Other subjects included: health issues, the former McCain Stadium site, public transport, hate crimes and facilities for young people.