New cinema on the way at last

Artist impression of Opera House Casino cinema plan North Street. There is fresh hope that the project could become a reality in the near future.
Artist impression of Opera House Casino cinema plan North Street. There is fresh hope that the project could become a reality in the near future.

The golden age of cinema could be set for a return to Scarborough after plans for two new multiplexes have been revealed.

The Sands water park developer has submitted plans for a ‘seven or eight’ screen cinema on the old Atlantis site and the much-delayed North Street car park cinema proposal is moving forward once again.

142508'Scenesetter'The Futurist'Picture by Neil Silk'17/06/14

142508'Scenesetter'The Futurist'Picture by Neil Silk'17/06/14

Scarborough currently only has two one-screen cinemas operating in the town.

The developer of a proposed state-of-the-art Scarborough multiplex cinema in North Street say they are hopeful work will start on the heavily-delayed attraction this year.

Entrepreneur Nikolas Shaw says he’s hopeful that his long-dormant proposal to build a five-screen cinema will finally become a reality by the end on 2014.

Planning permission was granted for the site in 2008, and besides that being renewed in 2013, the project has remained in a state of limbo for over two years.

North Bay cinema plan

North Bay cinema plan

But now there’s fresh hope the multi-million pound complex will become a reality.

“After numerous meetings with Scarborough Borough Council we have been lead to believe that the tender documents for the sale of North Street Car Park are anticipated to be ready towards the end of the year,” said Opera House Casino owner Mr Shaw.

“We are eagerly awaiting these documents and are fully committed to pursuing our North Street development plans.”

Meanwhile, Benchmark Leisure Ltd is seeking outline permission for the cinema at The Sands, which would be built alongside shops, apartments and a 287-space multi- storey car park.

The application states that: “The proposed development will contribute significantly to the economy of the town, both through employment generation and by broadening the appeal of Scarborough in the tourism market by delivering a comprehensive all-weather, year-round leisure offer which will be highly complementary to the seaside resort character and high-level tourism function of the town within the regional economy.”

It adds that this phase of the development would create around 132 new full time jobs.

A number of other potential sites were considered, including the Dean Road Depot and the St Thomas Street car park but the developer claims that the Atlantis site is the only viable option.

Its application is also scathing about the town’s current cinema provision, saying the Hollywood Plaza ‘is unable to provide a modern quality cinema offer that a new purpose built facility could do’.

However Mr Shaw states that any plans to build a cinema outside of the immediate town centre may come under heavy scrutiny before the plans are passed.

He added: “The North Street development is anchored by a multiplex cinema, and any other developments outside of the town centre would need to undergo a sequential test to exhaust any possibilities of a centre of town cinema development.”

The latest development brings hope that Scarborough will have an upgraded replacement to the now boarded up Futurist.

The old cinema and theatre is set to be officially put up for sale this week.

Cllr Janet Jefferson said: “There has been a lot of verbal interest and hopefully by working together with investors and developers we will get the Futurist Theatre restored or extended to its true glory, which in turn will boost our economy.”

She added that a new website is also set to be launched aimed at simplifying the terms of the Futurist’s sale.

The news of the cinema applications comes on the cusp of Scarborough’s summer season, when millions of visitors will flock to a town its residents claim is in desperate need of a multi-screen cinema.

This week, The Scarborough News’ Facebook followers claimed a new multi-screen cinema was the attraction the town needed the most.