Scarborough Council leader voices concerns over Flamingo Land's preferred bidder status for Futurist site

An artist's impression of the proposed Flamingo Land Coast attraction.
An artist's impression of the proposed Flamingo Land Coast attraction.

The leader of Scarborough Council has said he remains to be convinced about the case for the potential £14m Flamingo Land development on Scarborough’s seafront.

Cllr Steve Siddons (Lab) told today’s cabinet meeting that a timetable to sign off the authority’s deal with the theme park operator in the coming months was likely to be pushed back to allow for further scrutiny.

The current Futurist site. PIC: JPI Media

The current Futurist site. PIC: JPI Media

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Flamingo Land was granted preferred bidder status for the site of the former Futurist Theatre in 2014 with the council later spending more than £4m to demolish the building and make the area safe.

Cllr Siddons said he wanted more information about any deal struck by the previous Conservative administration and the Ryedale-based attraction before any decision was made.

He said: “The decision this cabinet and council will be asked to take is to finalise an agreement initiated in September 2014 by the then cabinet when it agreed to make Bidder B, later identified as Flamingo Land, the preferred bidder for the then Futurist site.”

An artist's impression of the proposed Flamingo Land Coast attraction.

An artist's impression of the proposed Flamingo Land Coast attraction.

A decision on the agreement was due to be made in September but Cllr Siddons told his cabinet that timetable was “ambitious”.

He added that when he became leader he promised to look at the project again in light of concerns raised by residents and councillors about the preferred bidder status.

He said: “This is not a concern with Flamingo Land per se, but concerns about the deal the cabinet agreed in 2014.

“I have not yet had those concerns addressed. The council leader at the time assured councillors that further reports to address due diligence concerns would follow. I expect every member of this council [will] also want those diligence concerns addressed.

The current Futurist site. PIC: JPI Media

The current Futurist site. PIC: JPI Media

“My own key concern has been well publicised, we gave preferred bidder status to Flamingo Land before we spent £4m demolishing the Futurist theatre. Others had expressed interest in the cleared site but were not included in the 2014 preferred bidder process. Why did we not market the site once it was cleared?”

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Cllr Siddons said there a number of other concerns that had also not been addressed, including a question raised by Cllr Michelle Donohue-Moncrieff about whether the council was “locked into” a legal agreement with Flamingo Land following the granting of preferred bidder status. He added that he has asked for clarification on this.

He also told the councillors that a decision on the plans for the project was for the authority’s planning committee and not the cabinet or council.

Flamingo Land wants to build a coastal attraction on the site, featuring a rollercoaster and 60ft Cliffhanger tower.