Masterplan is 'once in a generation' chance to regenerate Scarborough's North Bay as proposal approved

A "once in a generation" opportunity to regenerate North Bay with a new masterplan has been approved by Scarborough Council's cabinet.

By Anttoni James Numminen, Local Democracy Reporting Service
Friday, 1st July 2022, 3:15 pm
Updated Friday, 1st July 2022, 3:17 pm

The plan sets out aims for enhancing and improving the "prosperity and future of the town" by creating more attractions, visitors, and investments in what it describes as "the single largest leisure development opportunity in the borough".

Scarborough Council approved the plans, which it claims could bring "over £100m of investment" to the area, at a meeting of the cabinet on Friday July 1.

Cllr Jim Grieve, Portfolio Holder for Quality of Life, told the meeting: "The comments and feedback I've had from members of the public is that we need a joined-up plan for the North Bay.

The masterplan hopes to create new hotels, lodges, car parks, sports and experiences centres and improve public transport.

"This is a once in a generation opportunity to reset the tools and just move forward with North Bay in a direction that the whole town, community, and wider Yorkshire area can really take forward."

Appointed by the council to create the master plan, the BPD (Building Design Partnerships) consultancy identified three key opportunities for development in the North Bay.

These encompass the enhancement of the Open Air Theatre, creating new visitor attractions with "adrenaline experiences and adventure sports", as well as providing new visitor accommodation including "four-star plus" hotels and "serviced apartments and lodges".

The plans also include "but are not limited to" attracting 70,000 additional overnight stays and 200,000 additional day trips every year.

The former North Bay swimming pool demolition nears completion.

Council Leader, Cllr Steve Siddons, said: "I think that having this co-ordinated approach, a masterplan, which sets out all those things that people have raised gives us a really good opportunity to make a once in a generation attempt to do this work."

He said that despite "false starts over the years" he was "confident that there will be movement over the coming months".

Major consultation

Between March and April, the council conducted a wide-scale public consultation which received feedback from 732 people.

Councillors have described the plans as a "once in a lifetime opportunity".

It also held "engagement sessions" with the Scarborough Chamber of Trade and the Hospitality Association, MPs Sir Robert Goodwill and Kevin Hollinrake, and other groups.

Addressing the cabinet meeting, Cllr Janet Jefferson said: "As president of the Chamber of Trade and one of the consultees on this, we received a presentation on this at a virtual meeting and it was very well received by the members that attended."

The plans include recommendations "for the development of better travel infrastructure to support the area such as possible multi-storey car parking and improvements to cycle and pedestrian access".

According to a council report on the consultation process, respondents largely rated the quality of public transport links and car parking as "acceptable" and "poor".

It is claimed the plans could bring more than £100m of investment to the town.

However, respondents "emphasised the need to retain and enhance the quieter character of North Bay in contrast to the more commercial South Bay" and were overwhelmingly in favour of improving the pedestrian environment, giving cars "the least priority" when asked about transport infrastructure.

Addressing this point at the meeting, Cllr Carl Maw said: "More than anything I'm glad to see there's a recognition of the difference between the two bays. It's good to see that the proposals are built on the natural beauty and serenity of the area and hopefully it's kept that way."

‘A joined-up plan’

The masterplan sets out an ambitious target of attracting hundreds of thousands of additional visitors to Scarborough every year, alongside proposals for more hotels and lodgings.

Presenting the master plan report to the cabinet, Cllr Liz Colling said that plans were still subject to change: "You can't be prescriptive about these things, these are broad-brush directions.

"The key element of the masterplan is that the North Bay is different to the South Bay, that's what makes it special and that's what we seek to preserve."

The masterplan aims to enhance the offering of the town's Open Air Theatre.

The council's report states that since the North Bay master-planning activity began "there has been significant private investor interest in the provision of additional overnight stay accommodation, suggesting that there is indeed a demand for this type of product within the area".

However, this is not entirely reflected in the feedback of people who took part in the public consultation, with only 10 per cent of the respondents stating that better places to stay should be provided.

Cllr Carl Maw agreed that it was important to have a plan in order to attract investment: "As we've seen with the town centre, unless you've got a concrete plan and an idea of which way you want to move with things, you're not gonna attract the outside investment.

"So hopefully when we've got a North Bay plan in place, there'll be investors wanting to invest in our North Bay."

The council has said that including private investment in the project is considered necessary "if it is to be realised in full".

The masterplan was unanimously approved by the cabinet.

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