Historic Tugwell-designed Scarborough town centre building to be demolished; although facade might be saved

A derelict Scarborough building designed by the same architect behind the Futurist Theatre is to be demolished.

By Sarah Fitton
Monday, 23rd November 2020, 11:17 am
Updated Monday, 23rd November 2020, 11:20 am

Lloyd Kelly applied to Scarborough Council earlier this year to knock down the former Scarborough Carpets building and warehouse in Albemarle Crescent.

Despite its derelict appearance, the building has a storied history as it was designed by renowned architect Frank Tugwell in 1926.

Tugwell was also responsible for the interior of the Savoy Theatre in London and the Theatre Royal in York.

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The building in Albemarle Crescent.

Locally, he is famous as the man who designed the Futurist Theatre on Scarborough’s seafront, which was controversially demolished by Scarborough Council in 2018, and also the Royal Opera House, in St Thomas Street.

Scarborough Council planning officers have now approved the demolition of the Albemarle Crescent building, despite concerns raised by fans of the architect.

One of the objectors, Scarborough resident Tony Freeman, had urged the council not to allow the demolition.

He wrote: “Tugwell is a local and eminent architect who designed many building across Scarborough, as well as a number of country houses, cinemas and theatres across the country.

One objector wrote: "It is important for the heritage of the town that the facade of this former garage building is retained."

“It is important for the heritage of the town that the facade of this former garage building is retained.”

Mr Kelly’s application stated that the building is in such a state of disrepair that “local residents are amazed the local authority has not started enforcement action to have the building removed”.

Scarborough Council planning officers have now approved the demolition plan, noting that permission had previously been granted to raze the building, which sits in the town’s Conservation Area, in 2010.

The officers’ planning report concluded: “Whilst undoubtedly some harm to the Conservation Area would be caused, officers consider that the harm would not constitute substantial harm to the designated heritage asset (the Conservation Area).

“Whilst the loss of the building is regretful it is considered that an appropriately designed redevelopment of the site would present the most practical solution in improving the character and appearance of this part of the Conservation Area, thus creating public benefit which outweighs the less than substantial harm caused.”

The officers believe they may have found a way to save part of the building, however.

The report adds: “One objector has recommended that the applicant should be required to save this element for use in the facade of a future building on this or another appropriate site within the town of Scarborough.

“Whilst this did not originally form part of the applicant’s proposals, officers have discussed this with the agent, as this is seen as a practical solution to enable demolition works to proceed, whilst providing an opportunity to consider if and how the faience blockwork can be incorporated into a new building on the site, or possibly used elsewhere.”

The demolition is likely to be followed next year by an application to use the land for residential and commercial premises, according to the planning documents.