Scarborough's cinema: the show goes on

Scarborugh's North Bay Cinema plans
Scarborugh's North Bay Cinema plans

The operator of Scarborough’s proposed North Bay cinema says it is committed to the project – as a town centre rival brings the curtain down on its planned scheme.

Benchmark told The Scarborough News it would be submitting a new planning application shortly and hoped to start work in May on the much-delayed multiplex.

MRP Developments, which was hoping to build a cinema and restaurant complex on the former Argos site in Newborough said it was putting its plan “on hold”, probably for “years” due to the difficulties of securing restaurant franchises for the project.

Richard Anderson, director of MRP, said: “We have seen recently the issues with Prezzo and Bella Italia shutting restaurants rather than expanding.

“A cinema development like this one is driven by the restaurants, without them it’s just not possible.

“We have put the project on hold until the market recovers, we are probably talking years rather than months.

“Until then we are going to look to let the empty units and spend money on the appearance of the building.”

Despite the warnings over the future of the chain-food market, Benchmark said it was moving forward with the building on the former Atlantis site in North Bay.

Although signs around the development promote an “Autumn 2018” opening, the reality is now that the cinema is unlikely to open until well into summer 2019.

A spokesman for Benchmark said: “Amendments to the existing planning consent are due to be submitted imminently which will result in improvements to the safety and convenience of the car park and create extra spaces.

“There are also some changes to the internal cinema building following changes to requirement for the auditoria heights. Through a more efficient design the architects have been able to provide an additional six apartments but with a very limited increase to the overall height, of around two metres. These changes will have minimal visual impact and will improve the flow around the whole development.

“It’s hoped that Scarborough Council will decide the plans in May and work can resume shortly after this.”

The developers signed an agreement with The Light to operate the multiplex in September, which will also house a number of restaurants, and a multi-storey car park with more than 300 spaces.

If the new permission is granted there could be up to 30 apartments as part of the development.