Scarborough Council sets out £20m ambition to make Yorkshire Coast a destination for adventure and adrenaline sports

Scarborough Council has set out a multimillion-pound plan for joining up and creating new adrenaline activities to make the borough a “destination of choice” for adventure activities.

By Anttoni James Numminen, Local Democracy Reporting Service
Thursday, 28th July 2022, 2:13 pm
Updated Thursday, 28th July 2022, 2:15 pm
Scarborough Council hopes to make the town and wider borough an adventure sports destination.
Scarborough Council hopes to make the town and wider borough an adventure sports destination.

A new feasibility study and a large public consultation launched by the council aim to establish Scarborough as an international destination of choice for adrenaline experiences and adventure sports.

A feasibility study proposes an “inward capital investment” of £20m to create an “inland surfing centre” as well as investing £2m on a climbing, BMX, and skating centre, with a combined economic gain of up to £1.2m annually.

According to the council, the vision for Scarborough to be a destination for adrenaline sports is driven by the desire to “maximise the interaction” between visitors, enthusiasts, and the natural landscapes that exist in the Scarborough borough.

It hopes the plan could draw investment across Yorkshire Coast towns.

It says a joined-up approach that brings the whole borough together” is required for Scarborough to be “truly considered a destination of choice” while providing “year-round availability for adrenaline experiences and adventure sports” that are linked to commercial and cultural offerings such as hotels, cafés, and equipment stores.

The plan also sets out potential locations for the various activities across Scarborough, Whitby, Filey, Danby, Robin Hood's Bay, and Cayton Bay.

It ties in with the recently approved North Bay masterplan which sets out an ambitious proposal for attracting hundreds of thousands of additional visitors to the area each year through new “adrenaline experiences” and “four-star plus” hotels.

Adrenaline

The plan outlines ambitions for a climbing, skating, BMX and surfing hub.

Alongside the public consultation, the council has also published an 88-page feasibility study titled “Adrenaline”, which sets out the strategic roadmap for the project.

Lincolnshire-based Mulhall Leisure Consultancy was hired by the council to conduct the study.

The study sets out the time, investment, business involvement and marketing required to make the plans a reality, as well as the vision for communications, infrastructure, and digital marketing.

There is an estimate that a £2m investment - half of which would come from the council over 15 years - in a motocross/BMX, climbing, and skating centre could attract more than 110,000 annual visitors, create 10 to 15 jobs, and bring a “total economic gain” of £540,000 per year.

Similarly, the proposed £20m inland surfing centre is predicted to attract 100,000 visitors a year and create 50 to 60 jobs, with an estimated economic gain of half a million pounds.

Overall, the study estimates that up to 277,000 unique visits could be generated from all the activities, with a strong emphasis on attracting visitors from abroad, especially from the Netherlands via existing ferry routes.

The feasibility study also conducted an “extensive” survey of stakeholders, with feedback from 94 businesses and 262 members of the public.

According to the survey, 90 per cent of businesses and 84 per cent of individuals that took part in the survey said that the current adventure sport and adrenalin experiences on offer need improvement.

Asked to rank the various proposed activities in order of preference, businesses put the indoor climbing centre, open water and wild swim events, and enhanced cycling provision in their top three.

Members of the public also ranked enhanced cycling provisions, indoor climbing, and a BMX- freestyle facility as their top three.

However, the lowest ranked option among businesses in eighth place was the inland surfing facility while the public also gave it a low ranking in sixth place.

The study concludes that the focus of the project is based on three groups: residents, tourists, and enthusiasts, and that minor amendments to the existing provision have the potential to see significant improvements in the short to medium term.

It also includes a list of recommended next steps over one to five years, which range from the development of a bespoke “digital activity finder” to establishing a “high profile and annual borough-wide event that will attract adrenalin visitors”.

However, the study does not appear to address issues of impact on climate change, with environmental sustainability only mentioned once while climate change and carbon emissions are not mentioned at all.

As part of the project, Scarborough Council is currently seeking to further consult stakeholder organisations including the national governing bodies of sports, clubs, associations and members of the general public on the proposals that have been set out.

Feedback and comments can be provided on Scarborough Council’s website until 12 August.