Councillors ‘lodge’ motion to slow down Londesborough plans

Ani Tselha ready for the challenge ahead of Londesborough Lodge.Picture Richard Ponter 132117
Ani Tselha ready for the challenge ahead of Londesborough Lodge.Picture Richard Ponter 132117

The brakes have temporarily been put on the council’s decision to hand over the running of an historic Scarborough building to a Buddhist charity.

Last week, Scarborough Council’s cabinet agreed to hand over the keys to the Grade II listed Londesborough Lodge to The Ropka Trust, who plan on turning the derelict building into an holistic community hub.

However, a group of councillors say they disagree with the decision - and believe a rival bid should be given further consideration from the authority.

Peter Popple is one of at least five councillors known to oppose the decision.

He thinks the Scarborough Youth Theatre’s bid had ‘much to recommend’, and has now ‘called in’ the decision to be debated at the Resources Scrutiny Committee on 12 June.

“While recognising the merits trusts bid I do believe that as this is a Community Asset Transfer it would be more advantageous for the Scarborough community to transfer the building to local organisations if at all possible,” said Cllr Popple.

“Their bid needed further consideration in order that they have more time to finalise their proposals for funding requirements.

He added that the theatre’s proposal envisages would establish a “thriving cultural and artistic asset in the centre of the town” - as well as restoring a “significant” building in the heart of the town.

The historic lodge had been vacant for several years prior to the councils decision to hand over the keys to the trust on a 99 year lease.

The Ropka Trust has vowed to invest at least £500,000 into cleaning up the lodge, including the removal of deadly asbestos, as part of their proposals to build an international attraction.

The Scarborough News contacted Ani Tselha from the trust. However, she was unwilling to comment at this stage.