'New vision' needed for Futurist site on Scarborough seafront

Scarborough Council has revealed that it wants to replace the former Futurist theatre with a development that enhances the town’s heritage assets and enhances residents' lives.

By Carl Gavaghan, Local Democracy Reporting Service
Tuesday, 9th June 2020, 9:59 am
Updated Tuesday, 9th June 2020, 10:58 am
The Futurist site
The Futurist site

In February the council set up a new cross-party task group to examine all options for the area following an independent review of the council’s 2014 decision to demolish the former theatre at a cost of more than £4 million and enter into an agreement with theme park operator Flamingo Land to build an attraction in its place.

Next week, the task group will report its proposals to the council’s cabinet, outlining what the council should look for when it is deciding what should go on the area, in what it is calling the “Bay Side South” vision.

Flamingo Land will still be part of the negotiations going forward but it could be the end of its plans for a seaside attraction which included a 60m-high “Cliffhanger” ride, a rollercoaster, and a four-storey building housing restaurants and play areas.

Sign up to our daily The Scarborough News Today newsletter

While making no specific proposals about what the development should be the task group identified several themes that should be met by any plan.

They include enhancing the town’s natural heritage assets, enabling residents to live better lives, and promoting good health, education and active lifestyles.

In a report prepared ahead of the cabinet meeting on Tuesday June 16, it noted that the group was keen that the site’s redevelopment would result in facilities that would “captivate all ages” while being “accessible and affordable to local residents and visitors”.

It would also need to support an all-year-round economy.

Despite Flamingo Land remaining the council’s preferred bidder, the all-party group was keen the future focus didn’t just relate to leisure and tourism and wanted provision for other economic growth sectors such as digital, health and engineering, education and skills along with career development for 18 to 25 year olds across the borough.

A desire for the redevelopment to better connect the town centre, beach and harbour forms part of the vision for the site.

The cabinet report also acknowledges that discussions now need to take place with Flamingo Land to ensure its proposals for the site match the new vision.

Cllr Steve Siddons, Leader of Scarborough Borough Council said: “The future use of this site is important for the whole of Scarborough and the borough.

“I am very grateful for colleagues from across the political spectrum coming together to help define a vision for Bay Side South.

“This is a fantastic opportunity for a redevelopment to make a massive difference, not least in improving the lives of residents young and old, contributing to the economy and providing a cultural facility we can all be proud of.

“It shows our commitment to truly build a better borough.”

Earlier this year, an independent review into the 2014 decision to demolish the Futurist theatre, which once played host to big names including the Beatles and Ken Dodd, had found flaws with the strategic and economic cases for the development.

A message from the Editor:

Thank you for reading this story on our website. While I have your attention, I also have an important request to make of you.

In order for us to continue to provide high quality and trusted local news on this free-to-read site, I am asking you to also please purchase a copy of our newspaper.

Our journalists are highly trained and our content is independently regulated by IPSO to some of the most rigorous standards in the world. But being your eyes and ears comes at a price. So we need your support more than ever to buy our newspapers during this crisis.

With the coronavirus lockdown having a major impact on many of our local valued advertisers - and consequently the advertising that we receive - we are more reliant than ever on you helping us to provide you with news and information by buying a copy of our newspaper.

Thank you