Scarborough Market Square: first pictures show what new development could look like

The first pictures of the proposed public square in Scarborough town centre have been released.

By Carl Gavaghan, Local Democracy Reporting Service
Monday, 7th December 2020, 11:32 am

Scarborough Council has submitted a planning application for the second stage of what is known of its “Argos development” to build accommodation for NHS workers and students in Newborough.

The new plans for the Market Square will see the demolition of the Shakespeare pub, a newsagent, a cafe and a block of public toilets in St Helen’s Square opposite Scarborough Market hall to create the community space.

The application has been submitted separately to a plan to demolish the neighbouring former Argos building, which is also going through the planning process.

How the new Scarborough development could look.

In the planning documents, it sets out the council’s hopes for the Market Square.

It states: “[The application] includes the demolition of the three existing buildings which currently house a cafe, closed public WCs, a newsagents, and a public house, with associated residential above.

“The aim of the scheme is to transform St Helen’s Square, which is the gateway to Scarborough’s recently refurbished Market Hall, into a welcoming, characterful destination in its own right, by day or evening, and whether or not public events were taking place in the space.

“The scheme would encourage pedestrians to make the journey from the town centre and the seafront, encouraging greater cross-pollination of these two currently separate visitor destinations and footfall to the Market Hall and old town.”

How the new Scarborough development could look.

The plan adds that key features of the proposals include café seating, a water feature with jets built into the ground that can be turned off and on as needed, bench seating, vegetation, repaving of the area and the use of public art.

Historic England has objected to the potential demolition of the newsagents and pub, saying the “irreversible loss” would damage the Conservation Area and the setting of the Grade II listed Market Hall.

The body has offered up an alternative with just the toilets and cafe removed.

The £22m Argos project, which is being backed financially by Scarborough Council, has also come in for criticism.

That proposal involves the demolition of the current building at 55-59 Newborough and to replace it with a new build to provide new retail units on the ground floor and accommodation for 52 in-training NHS doctors and nurses from Scarborough Hospital and 150 university students on the upper levels.

The scheme has been developed with York Teaching Hospital NHS Foundation Trust, which runs Scarborough Hospital, and CU Scarborough, part of the Coventry University Group.

The plans for that stage of the development were put out to consultation last month and a number of objections to the scheme have been submitted to Scarborough Council including one from Scarborough’s Civic Society.

In a letter to the council, the society’s president Adrian Perry set out an objection to the look of the proposed development and warned that some people may be “swayed” into supporting the plans by the thought of backing the NHS.

He wrote: “It is very difficult to understand how anyone could find the unimaginative building acceptable for this part of the town.”

Mr Perry concluded that: “This proposal would replace one over-sized eyesore with another, even larger.”

The plans for the demolition and redevelopment of the Argos site and the Market Square are both out to consultation.

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