Town Hall decision “Too rushed”

063408a    in E.News> BuildingsPlaces 21/8  pic AH'Scarborough Town Hall
063408a in E.News> BuildingsPlaces 21/8 pic AH'Scarborough Town Hall

A DECISION to move councillors and staff out of Scarborough’s Town Hall has been called into question because some members said it was “being rushed through”.

Yesterday members of Scarborough Council’s Cabinet approved a recommendation to move the operation to an alternative site and it is due to be further debated by members of the full council on Friday.

But a number of councillors have questioned the decision because they said they were not being given enough time to make an informed choice.

Speaking after the meeting Cllr Colin Challen, who represents residents living in the Castle ward, said that having to make a choice by the end of this month did not allow for public consultation on such a “momentous decision”. He added: “It’s being rushed at a pace which appears outside of our control.”

He said that, as ward councillor, he wanted to see regeneration in the town centre but the figures were unclear. He said: “It sets you off on a track which is irreversible.”

Nicholas Edwards, the council’s head of finance and asset management, told Cabinet members that a move to a new site was the preferred option because it offered the best value – it was estimated that the Town Hall would need £5.8 million spending on it over the next 25 years to make it fit for purpose.

Under the proposal a new building would be acquired by December and the current Town Hall would be vacated by September 2013.

Cllr David Jeffels said he felt the redevelopment of the Town Hall could help with the development of the wider area around the building and the Futurist Theatre – which is currently out for public consultation. He added: “The sale offers the first opportunity we have of triggering the development.”

And Cllr Jane Kenyon said the council needed to move away from grand civic buildings. She added: “The issue for me is very clear – it is what money you need to spend over the next 25 years to make this building fit for purpose. The days of buildings like this, however desirable, are going. Or we stand still and get demolished by the future.”