Scarborough Council set to take back control of the Spa and Pavilion

Scarborough Council is set to take back control over two of the biggest entertainment venues on the coast.
Scarborough SpaScarborough Spa
Scarborough Spa

The borough authority has agreed to terminate its agreement with Sheffield City Trust (SCT), also known as Sheffield International Venues (SIV) which has run Scarborough Spa and Whitby Pavilion on its behalf since 2012.

Earlier this month, Sheffield City Council told Sheffield City Trust, which it subsidises, that it must end its loss-making contract with Scarborough Council “as soon as possible” before it will commit to further funding.

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The city council has said it will not cover losses for contracts SCT has with other authorities going forward and wanted the agreements terminated “at minimum cost”.

It follows decisions by the city council to give up to £16.6 million to SCT this financial year, which is £11.6 million more than budgeted for.

On Tuesday next week, the borough council’s cabinet will be asked to approve the move to bring the venues, along with the Spa Cliff Lift and Peasholm Cafe, back under the authority’s control from January 1 2021.

A report prepared for the cabinet says that the council’s contract had been set to run until September 2022 and it was “unlikely that [SIV] would look to extend their relationship with the venues”.

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It adds that in the first three months the council intends to bring the remaining 11 members of staff across to open up Farrers’ bar at the Spa and the cafe and cinema at Whitby Pavilion if it is safe to do so.

Detailed short and medium-term plans for operating the venues would be developed and a marketing strategy and the possibility of working with external partners to programme some events would also feature in the plans.

Cllr Janet Jefferson, Scarborough Borough Council cabinet member for corporate resources, said: “I welcome this comprehensive report, which sets how we could secure the future of these much-loved venues by taking them back in house.

“Cabinet will consider the recommendations in respect of the pivotal role the venues need to play in the future success of our local economy and their strong cultural value to many generations of residents and visitors.

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“The importance of Scarborough Spa and Whitby Pavilion in particular, will be at the forefront of members’ minds when reaching a decision.”

Andrew Snelling, chief executive, Sheffield City Trust, said: “The on-going restrictions means that these two venues are unable to open as usual for the foreseeable future. As with many other venues, the financial impact is significant. This is a great shame for these much-loved venues.

“We will continue to work closely with Scarborough Borough Council to ensure the sustainable future of Whitby Pavilion and Scarborough Spa.”