Scarborough's former Retro 36 shop to become a benefits assessment centre

The former Retro 36 shop
The former Retro 36 shop

One of Scarborough’s most iconic stores is to be turned into a benefits assessment centre.

Retro 36 stood out for a long time in St Nicholas Street for its bright red exterior and range of unique stock, including Harry Potter memorabilia and retro toys and games.

Since the family-run business closed last year the shop has remained empty. An application was made in October to turn it into a cafe to try and attract a tenant but then an altogether different plan was put forward.

Matalan applies to open cafe in its Scarborough store: see HERE
Ascenti, which is contracted by the Department for Work and Pensions to carry out Personal Independence Payment (PIP) claims, applied to use the building as an assessment centre.

A planning application submitted to Scarborough Council stated: “The activities that will go on at the centre will include one to one interviews and assessments in interview rooms to establish whether claimants are entitled to the PIP, a review of medical and occupational history and functional restrictions and Ascenti also undertakes physiotherapy so this could take place at the site as well should the initial need for PIP assessments to take place diminishes.”

The PIP scheme is designed to help people long term ill-health or disability issues meet the costs of living with their condition.

The application added that the layout of the unit will be reconfigured with a reception area, four interview rooms and a disabled toilet.

The plans have now been granted planning permission for a change of use after no objections were received during the consultation process.