Scarborough Council could abandon plans for theme park on Futurist site

Scarborough Council could be set to abandon plans to build a theme park on the site of the former Futurist theatre in the town.

Monday, 3rd February 2020, 5:17 pm
Updated Monday, 3rd February 2020, 5:18 pm

Flamingo Land had wanted to build a coastal attraction on the land but following an independent review of the council’s 2014 decision around the land the authority will now look again at what it wants on the seafront.

A cross-party group will be established to look at all the options open to the council for the Futurist and town hall sites.

The Ryedale-based theme-park operator was appointed as the preferred bidder for the site following the council committing more than £4 million to demolish the building, that once hosted the biggest stars in the country, including the Beatles.

The former Futurist site. Picture: JPI Media/ Steve Bambridge

Flamingo Land will still be part of the negotiations going forward but it could be the end of its plans for an attraction which included a 60m-high “cliffhanger” ride, a rollercoaster, and a four-storey building housing restaurants and play areas.

The review into the council’s decision process regarding the site found that the project lacked “a clear link back to inclusive growth and expected benefits, such as better jobs, training, economic impact on the town”.

The review also found concerns over the business case for the council’s decision and the financial benefits.

The full review will go before the council’s cabinet when it meets on Tuesday, next week (11th).

In a statement council leader Cllr Steve Siddons (Lab) said that the issue had been one of “public concern”.

He said: “As leader, I was tasked by the electorate with checking the process used had been sound and that the economic implications for the borough were thoroughly researched and understood.

“I asked for an independent review of the decision before the council committed itself to handing over a 250-year lease for the site. That review has now been completed and a number of recommendations have been made; these must be implemented before any next steps are agreed.

“As part of that process, I am gathering a cross-party Task and Finish Group, working to the Cabinet, to make clear proposals for the site that are of advantage to the borough.

“That group will be tasked with considering the strategic economic vision for the whole site from Foreshore Road to St Nicholas Street. This work will be completed within two months.

“The decisions we make for that site will affect generations to come. We have to be extremely mindful of the impact of its development and that any development there should withstand the test of time.

“The review was of Scarborough Borough Council not Flamingo Land.

“When the work of the group is completed, we will reopen talks with Flamingo Land to discuss the delivery of a new vision, which is designed to deliver major economic benefits for our borough’s future prosperity.

“We are thankful to Flamingo Land for their patience during this process.”