Festivals, 4g connectivity, late night entertainment and pop-up shops are just a few of the suggestions aimed at turning around Scarborough’s town centre.
Scarborough Borough Council is set to consult on its Town Centre Strategy as it looks to become the best performing coastal town in the country by 2025.
In a report to go before the council’s cabinet on Tuesday, Richard Bradley, the authority’s commercial director, says that “fewer people than ever” now frequent town centres.
His report adds: “People are increasingly viewing town centres as places of leisure and entertainment. This is borne out by the number of high profile department/retail store closures which have been witnessed in recent months.
“Nationally high street shop vacancy rates are at an all-time high. However, the proliferation of coffee houses, leisure and personal services providers, restaurants and bars etc. continue to grow. Scarborough town centre is no exception to this trend.
“Although Scarborough continues to perform well in terms of footfall and shop vacancy rates when compared to other similar seaside towns, the statistics are showing a steady decline and the sustainability of Scarborough town centre in the medium term is increasingly being brought into question.”
As part of the council’s vision for the town, improved connectivity with online services and the heritage of Scarborough are proposed.
This includes improving wifi and 4g connectivity. The report also stresses that more needs to be available for people to do at night time.
Mr Bradley adds: “Scarborough town centre will re-align itself for the 21st century to become a hub of leisure, learning and living by building on its rich heritage, culture and traditional retail and leisure offer.
“It will become a national exemplar through dynamic, welcoming and customer/community focussed activity and intervention. This will be measured by footfall, vacancy rates, levels of investment, new business start-ups, stakeholder involvement and customer satisfaction.”
As well as improving the commercial aspects of the centre Mr Bradley’s report states that the council will look to increase the number of residential properties in the area by 25% by 2025.
Scarborough will also look to build on the opening of the Coventry University Scarborough Campus and become a university town.
Should the cabinet back the report, the town centre strategy will go out to public consultation and two public open events will be held in November and December to show off more information to residents.