PLANS have been unveiled which could breathe new life into one of Scarborough’s neglected tourist attractions.
If they are approved by councillors next week, Scarborough Mere could get a new cafe and improved boating facilities by May next year.
Members of Scarborough Council’s Cabinet are also expected to approve funding of £36,000 to develop a planning brief for a masterplan for the redevelopment of the wider area – including the Mere and Oliver’s Mount.
Cllr Derek Bastiman, the council’s portfolio holder for strategic planning and regeneration, said it was good news that the scheme was back in the agenda.
He said: “I am pleased that it’s back on the radar. It did slip off momentarily. We want to highlight that facility.”
Cllr Bastiman said there was already interest being expressed in the area of land at the Mere. He said: “We will be taking that forward and giving it consideration.”
He said that it was important for the surrounding area to be redeveloped.
He said: “We are not taking our eye off the Mere but there has been a lot of effort put into the north side of Scarborough. We need to try and develop the Mere and Oliver’s Mount as best we can.”
Cllr David Jeffels, the cabinet member for tourism, welcomed the news that facilities at the Mere could be improved to help restore the attraction to its former glory.
He said: “The Mere and Oliver’s Mount area has been somewhat overlooked as a tourist attraction for a number of years. It was a key facility a number of years ago but over the years, due to vandalism and other problems, it has been neglected.
“But hopefully this new initiative is going to generate new interest in this area which has considerable potential – especially at a time when there is interest in green tourism.
“I look forward to it becoming once again a very significant attraction for Scarborough.”
Colin Cowie, the chairman of the Friends of the Mere group, also welcomed the news that the plans were due to be discussed. He said: “Over the past few years there has been very little done at the Mere. It’s a lovely area to walk around.
“I wouldn’t mind seeing the cafe coming back again.”
According to a council report, which will be considered by cabinet members, a Scarborough cafe operator approached the council to express an interest in developing a wooden chalet-style cafe at the Mere.
The area of land covers 2,000 square metres and is currently used as an informal car park by users of the Mere.
A boating jetty is situated next to the site and was previously used by the Hispaniola and rowing boats – but it has since fallen into disrepair and is currently considered unsafe for public access.
Within the masterplan the site has been identified as the location for an education and visitor centre with a cafe and picnic area.
If the funding for the development of the planning brief is approved it is expected to take three months to prepare with an eight week public consultation period planned to begin in March 2012 with a decision by full council set for next July.
The £3.6 million plan to transform the area could include:
l as many as 260 eco-lodges
l a community woodland
l wildlife trails
l a golf driving range
l a mountain bike circuit
l a dry ski slope
l and aerial adventure walkways.
Members of the Cabinet are due to meet at the town hall on Tuesday from 10am.