Scarborough's Open Air Theatre could hold more summer concerts in future

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More summer concerts could be held at Scarborough’s Open Air Theatre in the future as the borough council looks for ways to bounce back from the pandemic.

The 8,500 capacity venue in the town’s North Bay has hosted acts such as Britney Spears, Kylie, Gary Barlow, Noel Gallagher and Sir Tom Jones in recent years.

Currently it is limited to 30 shows a year under planning conditions imposed upon it in 2016 but only 20 of the concerts can take place between the months of May and September.

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The council, which owns the theatre, has now applied to remove the summer restriction, though it will still limit the maximum number of shows to 30 in any one year.

Crowds enjoying the Stereophonics at the Open Air Theatre, Scarborough.Crowds enjoying the Stereophonics at the Open Air Theatre, Scarborough.
Crowds enjoying the Stereophonics at the Open Air Theatre, Scarborough.

On Thursday next week, Scarborough Council’s planning committee will be asked to remove the summer condition.

In its submission the council, which outsources the running of the venue to promoter Cuffe & Taylor, part of the Live Nation group, states that the added summer shows will help the theatre recover from the pandemic.

It adds: “[Removing] the restriction on the number of events that can be held between May and September at the Open Air Theatre will enhance the venue by improving the amount, quality and variety of entertainment provided to the public.

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“It will also provide the operator and the council with an opportunity to recover from the effects of the global pandemic.

“It is respectfully requested that this application is approved.

"Failure to approve this application will significantly compromise the ability of the operators and the Council to recover from the effects of the pandemic.”

Planning officers have recommended the change be approved after just one objection was received during a public consultation.

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The objector wanted the change limited to a 12 month trial and also said that a number of paths that were public rights of way are closed before and during the concerts, restricting access to residents and the public.

In response planning officers said that a 12 month trial would impact on the ability of the operator to book acts in advance.

The planning report prepared for councillors also dismissed concerns about the alleged rights of way being closed, adding: “All the paths are within the control of the council and can be closed, as required, in its legal capacity as landowner.”

This year’s season is scheduled to begin on June 8 with Crowded House making their debut.

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Other acts lined-up include Ru Paul’s Drag Race: Werq The World, Keane, Kaiser Chiefs, Olly Murs, Bryan Adams, Duran Duran and Lewis Capaldi.

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