Plans to turn derelict Scarborough eyesore into social history museum turned down

Wayne Murray wanted to turn the former South Bay changing rooms in Scarborough into a museum dedicated to the social history of the town.

Thursday, 15th October 2020, 10:09 am
Updated Thursday, 15th October 2020, 10:12 am
Wayne Murray

His vision was for it to include a gallery of pictures of Scarborough and its people from the past.

Wayne asked Scarborough Borough Council to help him repurpose the sunbathing building by granting a community asset transfer, but it has refused, saying it has earmarked it for part of a wider redevelopment.

“The former sunbathing rooms are part of the wider South Bay area with links to the South Cliff Gardens redevelopment; a project that has progressed significantly since previous interest in the site,” said a spokesperson for the council.

Bathing chalets next to Scarborough Spa.

“We therefore feel that the area would benefit from some strategic master planning to consider potential uses and development within the area as a whole.

“The master planning will, of course, include engagement with the public and businesses about potential plans for the site, however, at the present time, until the masterplanning work has been undertaken, we do not wish to consider a specific community asset transfer application in relation to this part of the site.”

Mr Murray has expressed his disappointment at the council’s decision.

“I proposed a social history museum of the town, people and buildings with a local gallery upstairs with old pictures of Scarborugh and its people,” he said.

Bathing chalets next to Scarborough Spa.

“It would be a real community hub where people could see the old Scarborough through to the more modern town.

“As the building will be 100 years old in 18 months, it would have been great to bring it back to its glory keeping its sense of historic architecture.

“I am in between disappointed and angry at the minute as they say they have plans for it, yet it has laid derelict for nearly 30 years now.”

The changing rooms were badly damaged in an arson attack in 2001 and are in a serious state of disrepair.

A rescue project was launched by Crescent Arts in 2017 but it is understood those plans are no longer being pursued.

Mr Murray runs Scarderburg to Scarborough, a social history museum in the Market Hall and Vaults in St Helens Square.

He is passionate about recognising and remembering people and families of the town’s past.

Last year, he spearheaded a fundraising campaign for a plaque to mark the death of Leonard Ellis, who was the first person killed in the Scarborough Bombardment in 1914.

The green plaque dedicated to Mr Ellis was placed in South Street where he died and was unveiled at a ceremony last December.

His next plaque will be placed at 2 Wykeham Street – where four people died – on Wednesday December 16 at 8am.

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