Sports village takes major step forward

The Weaponess car and coach park, the site of the proposed multi-million pound sports village. Picture by Andrew Higgins 112067h
The Weaponess car and coach park, the site of the proposed multi-million pound sports village. Picture by Andrew Higgins 112067h

Plans to build Scarborough’s multi-million pound sports village have taken a major step forward as the long-awaited development edges closer to fruition.

Scarborough Council has revealed it has now received final tenders from bidders and the authority is currently in the process of analysing the bids.

It has been a long-awaited dream to create a community stadium and leisure facilities in the town, but work is yet to begin and questions have been raised about whether the project has stalled.

But the council’s projects manager, Chris Bourne, said once the analysis had been completed, the project will take a “significant step forward”.

He said: “Competitive tenders have been received for the Scarborough Leisure Village from bidders. The council is currently undertaking a very detailed analysis of these in conjunction with Sport England.

“When the analysis is completed we will to be able to report a recommendation for a preferred bidder to Cabinet as soon as possible, and once approved, then the project will take a significant step forward to the planning and delivery phase.”

The scheme includes a possible new football ground for Scarborough Athletic FC, which has been forced to play its home games at Bridlington because of a lack of facilities.

The need to boost sports provision became acute when Scarborough FC’s 128-year history ended in June 2007 because of crippling debts.

The council wants to develop a multi-purpose complex for the borough on the former Weaponness coach and car park, which would include a 2,000-capacity football ground with scope for expansion, an outdoor multi–use games area and a sports centre comprising indoor hall, fitness suite, activity studio and squash courts.

However, in February the authority said plans for an eight-lane swimming pool on the Weaponness site would be pursued through a separate project, which will be developed alongside the leisure village plans.

Three bidders had put forward detailed bids to develop the sports village and the full range of facilities desired by the council, including the swimming pool. However, it is believed council officers went back to the drawing board because of cost concerns.

Officers asked the three developers to come back with bids that did not include a swimming pool and they came back with options which the authority considered acceptable.

Now the bidders have submitted their final tenders, the project can finally move onto the next stage.

Once the tendering process has been concluded, the council’s development partner will build the new leisure village in exchange for a package of land which will include the site of the former McCain Stadium in Seamer Road, Filey Road Sports and Tennis Centre, and remaining land on the Weaponness site.

But it will no longer include the site of the current swimming pool at Ryndle Crescent which will be part of the separate pool bidding process.

The former Athletic Ground in Seamer Road, was once the home of the now defunct Scarborough FC.

The council is currently pursuing a number of grant applications with a variety of sports organisations to help fund the new leisure village, including Sport England and the Football Foundation, and the England Squash and Racketball Association.