A town square and flats for students and trainee doctors and nurses have been unveiled as part of a major town centre regeneration project in Scarborough.
Scarborough Council will partner with developer Wrenbridge to demolish the former Argos building in Newborough and replace it with a scheme drawn up in collaboration with Coventry University Scarborough and the York Teaching Hospital NHS Foundation Trust, which runs services at Scarborough Hospital.
The Local Democracy Reporting Service understands there could be close to 200 flats with a quarter earmarked for medical students and the rest for the university. There will also be retail units on the site, which was once earmarked as a potential space for a town centre cinema development.
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Council leader Cllr Steve Siddons (Lab) says this is the first stage of the regeneration of Scarborough town centre and will present his plans to councillors next week as he looks for their backing for the scheme.
He said: “Our town centre strategy was launched last month, this project, if approved will link to that together with the whole borough’s economic development.
“Our new university, the hospital’s teaching units – and the hospital itself- are just as vital to our prosperity as other local key businesses and industries.
“By providing dedicated accommodation for undergraduates and trainee doctors we can secure Coventry University and York Teaching Hospital’s future presence in Scarborough.
“As a bonus, by including other partners we can use this opportunity to regenerate the Newborough and market area with a new town square and properly kickstart the newly refurbished Market Hall as a retail and community hub.”
The plans will go to an extraordinary full council meeting on Friday next week as the council hopes to have the development open for students in 2020.
Cllr Siddons said that councillors will have to balance the money spent on the demolition, a figure which has not yet been revealed, with the “financial, economic development and social returns” the project would bring.
He added: “This is not just an investment in bricks and mortar it is an investment in people and the borough’s future.
“I am confident councillors will come to the right conclusion and that we can launch this first stage of the lower town’s renaissance.
“This could regenerate and rejuvenate the lower town and uplift the area’s economy.”
Cllr Siddons says other projects could follow and added the authority was in discussions to extend the regeneration along Eastborough to the harbour, linking the town centre with the beach.
He added: “At the moment we have a lot of people who visit the town and go to the beach but they never come up into the town centre and we want to encourage people to do that and we think this can be the start of that process.”
The indicative proposal is for staged flats with an entrance on Queen Street over two Newborough facing retail units and one retail unit facing a new town square.
More details will be released in the coming days.