The consultation was flawed as usual, Scarborough Borough Council provided three possible options in their consultation, and these were explained at various public events, along with the financial implications. At the same time the borough council made it clear that the Town Hall move had no bearing on the Futurist, or the Futurist on the Town Hall. Yet in option one this included a figure of £2.2million to have repairs carried out to the Futurist and its roof, this was not included in the other two options. This showed it would be necessary to borrow £5.8million over 25 years, at a cost of £465k per year, however if the cost to the Futurist is taken out of £2.2million then this would only mean borrowing £3.6million, which would be around £288k per year. Option two shows it is necessary to borrow £3million over 25 years, which is £260k per year this means the actual difference is only around £28k per year. Prospect House will require upgrading and will also incur maintenance costs, Scarborough Borough Council have never been any good at maintaining their buildings which is why the Town Hall needs so much money spending on it, Prospect House will probably go the same way and in 25 years time this will then need major money spending on it, and the borough council will be back to the same position they are now.
We have heard of various councillors saying this should be decided by a local referendum, and at a public meeting of the newly formed Scarborough Town Action Group, this was put to a vote and resulted in an unanimous YES to a referendum. This decision is far too important for just 50 councillors to make, and how many of these will vote the way their constituents want them to? Or will they take a party line and vote the way the party leader tells them to? Or will they just make a personal decision without any regard to the people of Scarborough?
The councillors can still call for a local referendum on this issue at the Full Council meeting on July 20, as there is still time with this deal as we have until the end of the year to give back word to the Homes and Communities Agency. However if our councillors will not go for that then the very least they must do is have a recorded vote, so we the residents know how our own ward councillors voted, and indeed every councillor.
It must also be remembered that we are in hard financial times which we are constantly being reminded of by the Government and Scarborough Borough Council which means this whole idea is completely the wrong time to deliver the project the borough council are dreaming of. If they go for option two we will be left with the hole in our town centre for years to come the same as has happened in Bradford. We only need to look at what has happened by trusting Benchmark to deliver, the borough council do not have a good track record with delivering major projects.
Information has also been given that contrary to popular belief that if Scarborough Borough Council turn this offer of £3million down from the Homes and Communities Agency, it is not the end of the road, because the agency is still keen to work with the borough council on regeneration projects, which is what it was set up to do.
Note for clarity the options are:
1 Remain in the current Town Hall.
2 Move completely to Prospect House.
3 Retain the civic function at the Town Hall and move the administration to Prospect House (this was noted as not being financially viable).
Given the cost difference to staying or moving to Prospect House at only £28k per year, then there is really only one option to take, and that is option one as that will then continue to benefit our town centre economy, and keep the Town Hall where it should be in the town centre, after all the name says so, or just maybe Scarborough Borough Council are thinking of changing the name to Industrial Estate Hall.