New cinema is given backing of council planners

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Plans for Scarborough’s long-awaited multi-screen cinema could get planning approval next week.

Benchmark Leisure Ltd has submitted an application for outline approval for the demolition of existing structures at the former Atlantis site in Peasholm Gap followed by the erection of a development comprising multiplex cinema, commercial units and residential apartments along with a multi-storey decked car park.

The plans, to be discussed by Scarborough Council’s planning committee on Thursday April 16, have been recommended for approval.

The seven-screen cinema will be situated outside the town centre, in contradiction of the National Planning Policy.

In the report, which will go before councillors, it states that the applicants claim that it looked at a number of sites and none of them was suitable.

It states: “It is the applicant’s case that even with significant subsidies, cinema fit-outs are often in excess of £2 million, and there is still a requirement for a cinema operator to invest a minimum of £1 million on top, as well as committing to a long term lease at a fixed minimum rental rate.

“This underlines the importance of location for any operator.”

The main stumbling block was the granting of planning permission for a five-screen cinema on the site of the North Street car park in 2008.

The applicant of that scheme, Nikolas Shaw, has objected to the North Bay application, saying he will seek a judicial review if it is approved.

However, the council’s planning officers feel there is enough evidence to warrant backing the scheme.

The report concludes: “The outcome of this [application] is finely balanced in this matter regarding the North Street site in particular, but having 
assessed socio-economic considerations in a holistic manner, it is concluded that these help tip the balance in favour of approving the application.”

The decision will have to be signed off by the Department of Communities and Local Government.