Meeting on future of historic sites

Scarborough Town Hall, and below, the Futurist.
Scarborough Town Hall, and below, the Futurist.

A PUBLIC meeting to discuss the future of Scarborough Town Hall and the Futurist Theatre has been announced for next month.

The Town Team meeting will take place in the Ballroom of the Royal Hotel at 7pm on Wednesday May 2.

Plans to sell off the Town Hall were revealed in March in a £3 million deal proposed by the Homes and Communities Agency.

The agency, which replaced Yorkshire Forward and aims to promote economic regeneration, would receive an equity share in the planned redevelopment of the Futurist and Town Hall as part of the agreement.

Councillors agreed to accept the offer, but only after the deal was amended to allow more public consultation.

Scarborough Council officers had feared they would lose the cash offer, which would scupper a potential move to an out of town site, because members felt they were being rushed into making their decision by the end of last month.

Under the revised agreement the decision on the move will be taken by the council in July – and if they opt to stay put there is the option of giving the £3 million back.

The Town Hall, which could be turned into a hotel, was built by John Woodall around 1844 as a private house, designed in the Jacobean style. The borough bought the building for £33,575.

The purchase price also included three other properties in St Nicholas Street, the St Nicholas undercliff, the Exhibition Hall on Foreshore (now the Olympia), the coastguard station and a building in King Street.

The St Nicholas Street site was officially opened by Queen Victoria’s daughter Princess Beatrice, who unveiled the nearby statue of her mother on the same day.

Among the most distinguished visitors to the building was Winston Churchill, who toured it in 1952 while in town for a Conservative Party conference.

The wartime leader’s picture still hangs in the mayor’s parlour, where he once sat.

A number of proposals have been put forward for the redevelopment of the historic Futurist site, which hosted both The Beatles and The Rolling Stones in the 1960s.

One of the options is for the venue to be transformed into a hotel with panoramic viewing platforms over the stunning South Bay vista.

The radical proposal for a “new street towards the sea” has been submitted to Scarborough Council as part of a development brief with scope for a cinema and restaurant complex on the site.