Plans for Scarborough’s long-awaited multi-screen cinema have been sensationally refused by borough councillors.
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, discussed by Scarborough Council’s planning committee this afternoon, were recommended for approval.
But following a heated debate they were refused by seven votes to six.
The seven-screen cinema will be situated outside the town centre, in contradiction of the National Planning Policy.
In the report, which went before councillors, it stated that the applicants claimed it looked at a number of sites and none of them were deemed suitable.
The report stated: “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.”
One of the main stumbling blocks is 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, objected to the North Bay application, saying he would seek a judicial review if it was approved.
However, the council’s planning officers felt there was enough evidence to warrant backing the scheme.
The report concluded: “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.”
Seven councillors did not agree and the plans were refused.
Cllr David Billing said: “The cinema should be in the town centre.”
Fellow councillor Amanda Robinson added: “It’s all very well saying North Bay is very close but what about people from Filey? How do they get to North Bay.”
• David Billing (Labour, Central Ward)
• Steve Siddons (Labour, Ramshill)
• Amanda Robinson (Independent, Ramshill)
• Dilys Cluer (Green, Stepney)
• Mike Ward (UKIP, Esk Valley)
• Colin Haddington (UKIP, Filey)
• John Flinton (Conservative, Scalby)
• Jane Mortimer (Conservative, Fylingdales)
• Simon Green (Conservative, Cayton)
• Dorothy Clegg (Conservative, Streonshalh)
• John Blackburn (Conservative, Cayton)
• Godfrey Allanson (Conservative, Hertford)
• Martin Smith (Conservative, North Bay)