North Bay cinema in Scarborough: Council denies claim that agreement with developer Benchmark has been terminated

Scarborough Council has denied claims from one of its members that it has decided to terminate its agreement with the developer of a proposed new cinema for the town.

Tuesday, 22nd September 2020, 12:28 pm
Updated Tuesday, 22nd September 2020, 12:32 pm

Cllr John Atkinson, a non-affiliated councillor for the Northstead ward, said in a newsletter to residents that the authority had “given notice” to Benchmark that it would not renew its development contract when it ends in December.

Scarborough Council has now denied this claim.

Benchmark Leisure was behind the £14 million Alpamare Waterpark which opened in 2016 in Burniston Road and the recently completed Premier Inn hotel on the site.

Artist's impression of the proposed North Bay cinema

The company has been trying to build a cinema complex on the site of the former Atlantis Waterpark in North Bay for a number of years but the scheme has never got off the ground.

As part of Benchmark’s agreement with the authority, it also had development rights to more land in the town’s North Bay, including the former indoor swimming pool site.

In his Autumn 2020 newsletter, Cllr Atkinson told residents that the council had now moved on from Benchmark.

He wrote: “Further to Cllr John Atkinson’s address to the full council in February this year noting the poor performance of the North Bay developer, Scarborough Council has given notice to the developer that the contract, which ends in December, will not be renewed.”

A spokesman for Scarborough Council has denied this claim and said notice had not been served on the developer.

The spokesman said: “No decision has been made.

“The council’s current development agreement with Benchmark is scheduled to expire at the end of December 2020.”

Last year, Scarborough Council’s leader Cllr Steve Siddons appeared to suggest that patience with the developer had run out.

Speaking in November after the latest plans for the cinema had been approved, he said: “Just because the latest plans have been approved does not mean this cinema will be built soon, if at all.

“This is the third time the developer has promised progress.

“Personally, I have always said that an out-of-town site is the wrong place, especially for a council declaring a Climate Emergency.

“National planning guidelines say the same.

“Council plans for the North Bay are being reviewed. We still anticipate a cinema soon in Scarborough.”

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